Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch vorhanden.
As you might know by now, I live in southern Germany in an area called Allgäu. Today I want to show you some pics from the celebrations that happened last weekend in my home town Memmingen. I want to show you with just a few words and many pics why I love this town. Two big celebrations are key to the summer in Memmingen, Kinderfest (children’s festival) and Fischertag (Fishermen’s Festival). These celebrations have a 400 year old history! Every four years there is a third celebration, the Wallenstein Festival, which lasts for one week. Come on, let me show you some pics.
The festival season starts with the Kinderfest, which is on a thursday. All kids that go to elementary school meet at the Marktplatz (central place) for a little celebration with music. The kids are dressed up, often in Dirndl and Lederhosen, and all girls wear flower crowns. I made also a crown for my daughter. We don’t live directly in Memmingen, but wanted to watch the celebration. However, due to the bad weather, the celebration had to be inside and we couldn’t watch it. Well, R just wore her flower crown in the afternoon for the kids parade. Of course J needed some flowers in his hair, too. Well, he can wear anything and will always be handsome. For the parade all kids prepare their own costumes, often there’s a theme for the whole school. It’s always a very funny and cheery parade.
Fischertag is just two days later. In fact, it even starts already on Friday evening as people just can’t wait any longer. This evening everyone is in town. All restaurants have chairs and tables outside with special – delicious – food. In addition there are bands playing everywhere. You can hear traditional music, hard rock, Italo Pop, classic, everything.
On Saturday morning the fishermen meet at 7 to walk through the town. At 7.30 the officials speak and then everyone looks for a nice spot along the little river. There are always many visitors, so it makes sense to be there early. Only men and boys that live in Memmingen since at least 10 years or since their birth are allowed to jump in the river. They have their wifes, girlsfriends, sisters, daughters, moms, etc. with them, who take care of the buckets in which the fish get carried. Shortly before 8 everybody gets quiet and excited, then at 8 a shot makes everyone jump in the river. They try to get the biggest trout – or at least a small one. If you don’t get one, you’re a Nullfischer (zero fishermen) and everyone makes fun of you. However, when they have a fish in the net, the excitement and cheering is huge.
Once done fishing, the fishermen take their fish to the central place where they get weighted. The fisher with the biggest fish gets to be Fischerkönig (fisher king) for one year. A very prestigious job, that also costs quite a bit due to all the Freibier (free beer). In the evening there is the fisher parade to show the new fisher king.
Every four years, the Wallenstein festival is right after the Fischertag. For one week, Memmingen travels back in time to the Thirty Years’ War when generallissimo Wallenstein occupied Memmingen. At the beginning and end of this week a huge parade with more than 4000 participants takes place. The costumes are super detailes and just like their historical ideals. You won’t see any sun glasses, phones, sneakers or similar. However, you will see many men that have grown their beards long to make a nice impression. During the whole week the 4000 people camp in the parks of Memmingen, there are historical markets, craftsmen and every evening you can watch jugglers, horse riders or a theater. The Wallenstein Festival really changes the rhythym of life in Memmingen for one week.
I hope you enjoyed this little insight into the festival season in Memmingen. Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll join many other tourists that come to see these celebrations. If so, make sure to contact me for a meeting!