Life in Germany: Kerwe, September 2013

First of all, the obvious question: What is Kerwe? Simply put, Kerwe (Care VAY), is a festival or funfair. This looks different from village to village, even within the same region of Germany, but varies even more throughout other regions and even other European Countries.
Most of our German friends that are fluent in English are not from this part of Germany, so they didn’t have many answers about the local customs such as the Kerwestrauß (care Vay stras) which look like giant plumes or feather dusters on the villages’ central buildings. Since our friends weren’t well versed in the local customs, I did much googling. Then I asked our landlady. She said it goes back a hundred years and is a celebration of the village. We also asked a man down the road and we understood him to say it has something to do with the church as well as the 100 years thing. Overall, there seems to be an “our town is better than yours” feel to many of the traditions.
The teenagers of the village make these “Kerwe Bouquets” and parade it through the village. The festival began (loudly) on Friday evening with a band (we could hear the music in our house down the street, which included American songs from the 80s. We only participated in the evening meal on Saturday. We attempted to socialize with our neighbors and enjoy the celebration. (The other Americans in our village – that we know of – are young, single, and childless, therefore, more interested in the party aspect of Friday evening’s activities. This is not an assumption, this is based on observation, as we could see and hear them from our balcony). The actual placement of the bouquet occurred late Sunday night, as it wasn’t there when we came home from church but was there when I took Dietrich to school the next day.

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