Saturday, 12 January 2013


Regularly on the weekends, there is a concessionaire operation setup in the parking lot of the local supermarket that sells roast chicken—and fixins, for take-away. I noticed that the company offers a catering service, as well, for, as suggested, weddings and what’s called a “Polterabend.”

I was not quite sure what that could be—a noisy evening, like a Poltergeist, a restless and loud spirit. What kind of haunting did this entail? I learned that, in line with the marriage bash, a Polterabend was the name for an engagement party in some parts of Germany, where guests would traditionally celebrate the announcement with a big to-do and bring with them old dishes. They’d then ritually smash the plates (and anything else made of ceramic or stoneware that would break spectacularly), making quite a racket to symbolize a new beginning for the couple. During this counterpart for both a stag-party and a hen-night (Bachelor and Bachelorette parties), other good luck customs are observed, including an obligatory serving of chicken soup. It’s pretty neat what one can learn from the back of a van.