Saturday 30 December 2017

new year’s eve eve

H and I went to a village fete for the Winterval—actually to usher old the old year and make way for the new, granted a bit, ever so slightly early but I doubt that a community even could compete with the war-zone of firecrackers that typify New Year’s (Silvesternacht) revelry—around in and around the Kirchenburg (fortress church) complex which was illuminated with hundreds of candles and torches for the occasion.
One can find quite a few of these defensive structures in this area but this particular compound in Ostheim vor der Rhön constructed between 1400 and 1450 and outfitted to withstand a protracted siege and support a sizable amount of refugees is one of the largest and most elaborate in Germany.
After a few carols, mulled wine (Glühwein) and a word from the Burgermeister, a group of marksmen (well, members of the volunteer fire department) ascended the Waagglockenturm (originally a signal tower visible over a vast distance as a warning to the next settlement in case of attack) with hand-canons and fired off several incredibly loud volleys. We have shared glances of this place here and there before but soon we will treat you to the full, proper tour.