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History of Oppau/Edigheim-Ch.41(Pt.6)

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  • meinhartstock
    5. The Martin s Church Consecration To honour its Church Patron, the Holy Martin, that Oppau s celebrated every year on the day of his death, on November
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 2, 2003
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      5. The Martin's Church Consecration

      To honour its Church Patron, the Holy Martin, that Oppau's celebrated
      every year on the day of his death, on November 11th, its
      Consecration of the Church, that as a "Martins- or Roast Goose and at
      last Kerwe [Roast] was known far and wide in the whole region, often
      continued several days and sowed one's oats in robust joys of life.
      The 11th of November was once one day of complete special importance
      in the people's lives. Those old Germans began it for honor of their
      earth god Wodan as a Fall- and Harvest Festival, at that was not
      allowed to be missing a luxuriant little Feast.
      By the conversion to Christianity it was moulded around in very
      clever legitmacy for the Christian Martin's Day [Martinmas] and the
      Holy Martin was opposed to the Wodan, in order to control those old
      heathen deities with his power. For this reason we see him in the
      pictorial descriptions mostly as a Warrior, as he, was mounted on a
      white horse, he blue cloak crisscrossed with the sword, in order to
      give half of that to the Beggar.
      For those for a long time older Guests and traditions, that in days
      of yore came with that public celebration and the day at first was to
      be allowed just for a public festival, but those people kept
      faithfully steadfast [to their traditions]. There by the older,
      Autumn Sacrificial Festival, the appropriate season, a Festival dish
      was consumed usually Roasted Goose, had to no more be provided for
      the Christian Martins Holiday that Goose also like a Martins Goose of
      the Main Festival Roast. Quite of few of those legends about the
      origins of these traditions then were fabricated. So was reported
      for example: As one delivered that news of the pious Martin by his
      choice to the Bishop of Tours, he had to have hidden himself in over-
      sized humbleness and humility in a Goose stall. But by that cackling
      of the goose he was to be given away and to him it was no time to
      have remained, as that Bishop was to have assumed. Since then one
      ate in honour of the Holy Martin on his burial day a roasted goose.
      But with the transformed Martini Celebration went like with the old
      Harvest Festival also was not lacking a good drink. Around there on
      the 11th of November in that time was to be made the new Wines, also
      Saint Martin was from the unfermented grape juice not to be
      separated; then drinking and drunkenness existed in higher bloom in
      the Middle Ages. One now drank Martins-Minne, like one had first
      drunk Wodans-Minne, "Martein, gave one [as a gift]! exhorted one
      older people's saying. "With a fat goose and liquid of the vine we
      let the Holy Martin be alive!" The known people's author Sebastian
      Frank, the customs portrayer of the Sixteenth Century, wrote: "At
      first Saint Martin was praised with good Wine and Geese, until he was
      full. Unfortunate was that first house, that never had a goose to
      eat in this night."
      So also in Oppau was that Martins Roast Goose was celebrated as the
      greatest festival of the year in an extravagant manner. Then that
      water rich boudary made easier that Goose search, up to the end of
      the last Century also in the poorest huts of the village on Martin's
      Day that Roasted Goose was not missing on the table and bestowed the
      Kerwe its name. At the meal the Father of the house foretold from
      the breast bone of the Goose. It it was white, so it forebode a
      strong Winter; but if it shone somewhat reddish, so a milder Winter
      was to be expected. Of course, also the Martin Wine belonged to the
      Celebration. In unfavorable Wine years those porrest inhabitants
      brought themselves for their Kerwe from everywhere possible Wild
      fruit of the native woodlands for one's unfermented grape juice, then
      it was used to excess. That community sent still in the Eighteenth
      Century Inspectors from house to house, that was supposed to prove,
      whether not any harmful, perishable fruit was utilized for the fruit
      juice preparation. On the day before the Festival young lads palyed
      in older times crude Goose games, that one at first of the Nineteenth
      Century only still from the here say was acquainted with, as Teacher
      Georg K. Krebs from his predecessor wanted to experience in this
      service. (Competition around chopping off the heads of one's carved
      Goose.) Children went from house to house and all played rhymes
      (remnants of
      former Martins songs) and was given in exchange a roll or baked
      croissant. TheVillagePastor was according to
      authority from 1591 obligated (up to the French Period),
      on the Festival Day to play the part of the Charitable Martin, to
      permit one Malted Wheat to be baked for rolls and before the Church
      gate to be handed out to his Parish children of the Edigheim
      branch; he had to give two mealtimes to the Church jurors and their
      wifes "he had nothing from them, except they paid for the Wine".
      During the whole Festival time the Wooden Martin stood before the
      Church entrance with the Alms plate.
      That tradition from the Martin's Days stemmed also partly from all
      its financial importance, that it hen shaped the natural conclusion
      of the Farmers working year. In order for Martin that Harvest was at
      first completely done, that Winter seed was gennerally reserved and
      that field work finished. Those cows for the last time were driven
      from the pasture. Already in the Ninth Century that day generally
      was accepted as a Tax Day and that validity was kept up into the
      newer times. (See Village Law Books.) Many Roosters and many Geese
      were paid to Martin as Tax for the Estate property, the Church or the
      Monastery. Payment of wages and contractual agreements one dated
      from this Day. It was also a rotation day for servants and in rural
      proverbs and weather sayings it played a large role. That Pig
      slaughter began around this time. Also the Day Labourer Farmers of
      our villages kept themselves previously as a common owner even
      generally two pigs, from which had to be supplied one's necessary
      meat and fat requirements for one's own household, while from the
      proceeds of the sold "washing up water meadow" those family members
      mostly as well as possible were fitted out anew for the coming Fair.
      So one waited for that Church Consecration a little like a
      Celebration of the devout memory to the formal opening of the Church,
      but much more than an enjoyable, interesting, worldly Festival, that
      after bringing in the field crops, after conclusion of the actual
      field works and adjustment of all outstanding accounts of all, that
      entire community, that entire family, those Domestic servants and Day
      Labourer's were supposed to come together for pleasure and feasting.
      The large expense for food and drink, those various festivities,
      those prevailing high spirits at the Church Fair Days that
      Celebration occasionally was to fall into disrepute, frequently was
      to lead to drunkenness (St. Martin was also the Patron of the
      contrite Drunkard), to rioting and to severe, rough fights and
      stabbings. In support of the Police order services on those Fair
      Days that Community Administration still especially, had to be
      identified by blue-white arm bands, deployed armed security guards
      from the Community. As well those State Authorities sent still for
      one hundred years for the protection of the peace several Dragoons or
      Hussars at expense of the Host yearly for the Kerwe here. Nothing
      was to be counted for the Farmers during that Kerwe. "It was to be
      seen here, one had to believe, that he wanted to recoup at once for
      the burden of his despots." (Schulz, Migration on the Rhine,
      1803.) Against that uncontrolled- and excessive hedonism the worldly
      Church Fair Celebration must have struggled with all possible means.
      About 1857 that Regional Commissioner granted, following higher
      orders, not any approval more for the dance entertainment on the
      Parish Fair Tuesday, there experience showed many people with a
      limited income on this day the last reminder of their painstakingly
      saved money in a irresponsible manner and always repeatedly Fair
      disputes led to
      dogged adversary disputes inside- and outside the villages. On the
      4th of November, 1862 the Village Mayor Diehl from the neighbouring
      Edigheim addressed to the District Office in Frankenthal the
      following petition: "There on that todays Parish Fair here between
      Oppau's and local young people was found bloody fights, by which
      unfortunately until today still great hostility exists between many
      families of both villages and according to made threatening remarks
      that up to the 16th of November next there were to lead to creating
      still greater disputes behind occurring Parish Fair, so that local
      Office of the Mayor with the Office of the Mayor of Oppau had led to
      an agreement about, that attacking Church Consecration of one village
      about the Sunday Dance entertainment everytime also in the other
      villages had to be stopped. Accordingly one asked the Royal District
      Office, to be willing to kindly permit, that also on the next 16th of
      November there also in the local community to allow Dance Music to
      take place." The request was agreed with, for the usual nasty fights
      of the fighting cock of both neighvouring villages to be prevented as
      much as possible, if they were not to be able to prevent them
      Also at the Edigheim Church Consecration (on the first Sunday in
      September) it was always to be carried on so lively, that the
      Community Council had to take action to intervene. In the Book of
      Proceedings from the 6th of September, 1859 it was said: "That local
      Church Consecration was very well attended by non-locals. So it was
      since then the custom, that those local young lads and those non-
      local dance merry men on the first and second day mainly were allowed
      to dance and had to abandon on the first Tuesday the pleasure of the
      dance. With that all fights were prevented." That Community Council
      was asked here about approval again of the Dance Music on Tuesday of
      the Church Fair, but were refused because of the orders from
      1857. "In order for the inhabitants to be guaranteed for their hard
      work during the year a few cheerful and merry days without
      detrimental consequences for their safe welfare", was requested about
      1830 by the Community Councillors that Church Consecration due to
      around Martins usual prevailing chilly and damp weather was moved to
      the Sunday after Bartholonew and now still only one-day for Church
      Consecration was to take place on the Sunday after the 11th of
      November. After a few years that public wished with success that old
      Festival date back again. But seeing as in the latest decade of the
      Nineteenth Century that Celebration pleasure many times was to be
      destroyed by severe cold and once as well a "Garrison man" in one
      Kerwe night had fallen victim in his tent from the frost, that
      Celebration about 1904 was transferred permanently yearly on the last
      Sunday in August, but never more was held in the same magnitude as
      As a White horse rider Saint Martin shared also with Saint Leonhard
      in that Patronage over the horse. Oppau had ever since one can
      remember an outstanding breeding of horses. Those old boundary
      border stones and a Ashlar [a large square-cut stone used in
      building] of the old Church Steeple carried a horseshoe as an
      appropriate symbol.
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