There was once a rich peasant. On his beautiful autumn day, his wife said,”Man, we have had a good harvest. Cellar and barn, storage room and kitchen are full and we are well furnished for the winter. Let us celebrate Erntedankfest!”- Thus begins only one of the fairy tales, which point to the origin of the Erntedankfestes. All legends and fairy tales turn around the first and around the last harvest of the year. It is also about the gratitude of the peasant that the gracious nature has given him so richly. Yes exactly. Nature and its natural spirits. This beautiful feast seems to be much older than Christianity, and although it is now almost only Catholic congregations to celebrate, its roots lie far from the Catholic Church.
At the end of the summer and early autumn, we traditionally celebrate the Erntedankfest
People have always expressed their gratitude to nature through symbolic sacrifices
In honor of the spirits of nature and the gods of harvest and bread, the peasants celebrated the last harvest
Pagan gods, natural events and the peasant
Our peasant ancestors were closely tied to the natural events and directed their feasts after the natural events. The festivals of the harvest began in the summer and ended with the beginning of the autumn. For the farmer, the harvest is the culmination of his hard work and such an event must be festively celebrated. Today the date of the feast is given by the church and always falls on the first Sunday of the month Golden october ,
The bread is made from flour, which is actually ground wheat grains
The bread or the grain from which the bread is made is a sacred symbol of the flowering life
The wheel, which is still present today in the churches together with the harvest, is a sun symbol
The farmer also honors all grain varieties
Myths and legends
Probably the last harvest of the old Germans had something to do with the day and night, when the astronomical autumn begins. Just as in the Church today people pray to God, the Teutonic peasants used to show their gratitude and gratitude to the creative power of the sun and the gods of the harvest and the bread of Wotan. In the field, straw figures were built, sunflowers, pumpkins and beetroots were sacrificed, and as a sign of gratitude, the peasants let the last fruits hang on the tree or lie in the field. The wild hunters, Wotan, and other pagan gods were to bring them. In addition, people used to believe that Holle was a disguised poor woman, and that she was looking at the kindness and warmth of the people. Whoever is too stingy is punished. Wooden frames were built in the vineyards as a gift for the winegrowers.
More rare, far from the highway we can still see traditional decoration
Beetroots, pumpkins, nuts and apples are placed on straw bales as expressions of gratitude
There are also responsible spirits and gods for the vineyards
Kirtage or festivals have always accompanied the harvest until the church has not forbidden them. These were folk festivals, where the whole village gathered for celebration. There were games, similar to the knightly games, where the men could prove their skill. The women baked bread and plum cake. Beer and wine were drunk. The winner has got a cock or a goat as a prize.
Before the Christianity the ancient Teutons honored Wotan, the god of the harvest, the bread and the fallen warriors
Frau Holle, or Muhme Mählen, dressed herself up and examined the generosity of the peasant, people believed at the time
On the first Sunday in October, the German Catholic communities celebrate the Erntedankfest
Today we express our gratitude before the altar in the church. But also there, people traditionally put fruit, vegetables, cereals, hops, flowers, roots and everything else they could harvest in old wooden bikes. We also observe the pagan origin. The wheel is perhaps the oldest symbol of the sun, of creation and of eternal life.
If you are now on Early autumn Visit some small villages and municipalities, you can see similar festivals that have almost but not yet completely disappeared.