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.


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.


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, 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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