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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