O lado mais alegre das bonitas tradições: as festas populares alemãs
Do carnaval no Reno, passando pelas festas nacionais, bem como festas de cidades, de mercado e festas do vinho, até as maiores festas populares do mundo, a Alemanha tem uma grande variedade de festas a oferecer. Algumas têm longa tradição e são a melhor prova de que a história não é só coisa do passado.
Merchants' Bridge Festival in Erfurt
Every year on the third weekend in June, Erfurt brings the Middle Ages back to life in the form of the Merchants' Bridge Festival. Craftsmen demonstrate the skills of the past, jesters supply fun and games, minstrels sing and sword fighters do battle. The backdrop for this old town festival, the largest in Thuringia , is not unsurprisingly the Merchants' Bridge , one of Erfurt's must-see landmarks. At the same time as the festival, there is also a thoroughly contemporary fair on the cathedral square.
The stars of Bremerhaven Festival Week are ships from all corners of the globe – from motor boats to historical sailing vessels. Ship captains are on hand to take you aloft – and you'll hear a few entertaining sailor's yarns. Back on dry land, you can enjoy the biggest festivities on the North Sea coast with over 100 stalls around the Harbour Worlds complex. Bremerhaven's excellent international credentials will be on show at the Europadorf, where the city's twin towns will be presenting.
Twice a year the Tollwood Festival in Munich offers culture for all. Each of the events, from plays and performances to concerts, is either free or costs very little. The approx. 1.5 million visitors can also enjoy the 'market of ideas' in summer and explore one of Munich's most delightful Christmas markets in winter. The Tollwood Festival is proud to be a 'green' forum and a platform for environmental themes.
Fanfares, processions, historical re-enactments: Lutherstadt Wittenberg is never short of ideas when it celebrates the wedding of Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora every year in the town where they exchanged vows. For three whole days, the sound of Renaissance music and historical performances echo around the old quarter, and more than 2,000 'wedding guests' in authentic costume accompany the happy couple in a grand procession through the old town. When evening descends, it's party time for all – and the music comes full circle to the modern day.
This annual summer festival in Wismar – whose beautifully preserved old quarter has UNESCO World Heritage status – recalls the town's 155-year history under Swedish rule. Everyone is welcome, including Swedes! A historical army camp is set up on the market square, and on Sunday you can find out all about the history on the Sweden trail before enjoying the rides and the fairground fun at the Old Harbour.
The Rhineland carnival has its dancing fools, but the Alemannic carnival kicks off on an almost spooky note, the most dramatic example being the Narrensprung in Rottweil, Baden-Württemberg . On Carnival Monday and Tuesday, some 4,000 fools wearing carved masks parade into the town via the Black Gate. The procession then takes several hours to make its way through the historical town centre, involving everyone in the celebrations.
Boasting Germany's biggest wine procession, the German Grape Harvest Festival in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse is the highpoint of the German wine festival season. As well as marvelling at the parade, you can witness the election and coronation of the Palatinate and German wine queens, sample offerings from Germany's thirteen wine growing regions at the German Wine and Sekt Fair, and enjoy wine and delicious Palatinate food in the Haiselscher, the festival's own wine village. There's also a wonderful funfair with lots of fairground rides.