Grenzgang in Biedenkopf
Biedenkopf in Hesse
[ source: Wikipedia]
In 2012 it is finally time again for a unique and traditional festival in Hesse. From the 16th until the 18th of August the so—called Grenzgang, border walk, will take place in the town of Biedenkopf (Biedenkopf vacation rentals | Biedenkopf travel guide). This one—of—a—kind event happens only once every seven years and therefore is highly anticipated by locals and strangers alike.
The Grenzgang festival dates back to the Middle Ages and used to be more of a necessary evil rather than a fun public event. Back in the days Biedenkopf was in constant trouble with its neighbouring towns and villages. Time and time again the people of this area got into fights about what parts of the land belonged to which town, which made regular border walks inevitable. Since the 17th century such walks were done once every seven years to re—establish the existing borders. In the 19th century solid border markers were put in place, which made the traditional border walk redundant, but by then this event had already turned into a popular festival, which is still celebrated today. Of course, in times of war or economic crisis the people of Biedenkopf were not always able to stick to the seven—year—interval, but overall the Grenzgang festival was held regularly since 1839.
For the festival, the town’s people are divided into different groups according to neighbourhoods. Each morning of the three days of the festival the whole town is woken up by gun salutes and then comes together in the market square to start their walk along the town border. These daily walks usually last until the late afternoon and are interrupted by a picnic along the way. Once the people get back into town, the party continues in a giant pavilion in the town center. Here you can get something to eat, drink freshly tapped beer and listen to brass music.
What makes this event so special is that medieval traditions are still kept alive. The Grenzgang is so much more than going for a hike with your friends and neighbours and than having a party on the market square. There is a strict procedure, which every participant has to follow. People wear traditional costumes, the hikes are like parades and people who, take part in the Grenzgang for the first time, have to go through fun inauguration rituals.
To you, as an American, some aspects of these old—fashioned proceedings will probably seem strange and even foolish. However, once you get into the swing of it, you will gain great insight into German traditions and, most importantly, simply have a blast.
[ source: wikipedia.org ]
About this Article
This travel guide has been written by Kathrin Wagner.
She grew up in a small town in Bavaria and then studied Media studies, Literature and History in Erlangen and Munich. As a student she already spent half a year in London and moved back there after graduation in 2006. She is still living in London, where she works in publishing.
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Every seven years, the town holds a Grenzgang in which people walk around the borders of the town's forest
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