Cus­toms in April

We are a mul­ti­na­tional team … and we love it! Con­tact with other cul­tures is so­me­thing we ex­pe­ri­ence all the time! Easter is a per­fect ex­ample of cus­toms and tra­di­tions, and we’d like to tell you about some of those. Enjoy.

Easter

Have you ever heard of “Go­ckel­holen” or  “Kar­frei­tags­ratschen”? These are cen­tu­ries old tra­di­tions and cus­toms prac­ticed around the Easter period. Go­ckel­holen is a tra­di­tion where young men climb up to the win­dows of their swee­the­arts, but only if they have danced with each other during the pre­vious year. In former times, it was im­portant not to get caught, of course. No­wa­days, the girls await their vi­si­tors with gifts such as schnapps, Easter eggs or beer. Ano­ther Easter tra­di­tion, Kar­frei­tags­ratschen [li­ter­ally, Good Friday rattle], has not­hing to do with a gos­sipy older woman but in­s­tead refers to a wooden device equipped with a crank that makes quite the racket when ro­tated round and round. It is sounded to call the faithful to church. It became ne­cessary be­cause, ac­cording to custom, the church bells must fall silent bet­ween Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday, mar­king the time that Jesus lay in the tomb. The Good Friday rattle can be heard in the St. Maria Thalkirchen.

the “Kar­frei­tags­ratschen” – Many thanks to the rec­tory Sankt Maria Thal­kir­chen for the photo.

Qing­ming

And there are other re­li­gious fes­ti­vals that are ce­le­brated across the world around the time of the Chris­tian feast of Easter. In China, the Qing­ming Fes­tival takes place on 5th April. This is the Chi­nese Tomb-Sweeping Day or Me­mo­rial Day, akin to All Saints’ Day in the Chris­tian faith. It takes place on the 106th day after the winter sol­stice, me­a­ning it always occurs so­me­time bet­ween 4th and 6th April. This is a day on which the Chi­nese re­member their an­ces­tors, tidy up their graves, and leave of­fe­rings such as fruit, food, flowers and such like. Paper forms of items are burnt so as to make these ar­ti­cles avail­able to their an­ces­tors to use in the afterlife.

Ra­madan

Ra­madan, the Muslim month of fas­ting, begins on 13th April, just a short time after Easter. It is the ninth month in the Is­lamic ca­lendar, whereby the start always ro­tates by about 10 days each year. Fas­ting is man­da­tory for all he­althy Mus­lims of adult age, unless they are pre­vented from doing so by va­rious things such as travel, being elderly or sick, or if they are suf­fe­ring from a mental in­ca­pa­city. Pregnant and breast-fee­ding women are also exempt. The prac­tice was adopted by people in re­mem­brance of the time in the Koran when the Ar­ch­angel Ga­briel spoke to the Pro­phet Mu­hammed. Ra­madan not only re­quires be­lie­vers to fast from food and drink, but they must also act in a moral and ethical way, and re­flect on this form of be­ha­viour. Those who ob­serve the rules of fas­ting ac­quire self-di­sci­pline and con­trol, while at the same time pu­ri­fying their body and soul and streng­t­he­ning their con­scious­ness of God.

The All­round Ser­vice Team wishes ever­yone a greate fes­tive season.

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