- on a Sunday Afternoon - Sorry you missed it for
this year, but be sure to mark your calendars for next year so you
don't miss this great celebration of your heritage! Pommerntag
is scheduled for the last Sunday in June. Features include the
Verein database with our computer setup; the database now contains
over 104,000 names which are linked together in family pedigree form.
Printouts are free at Pommerntag! There are cultural,
genealogical displays, plus book and map sales. Usually,
entertainment includes the music of the Kameraden Band and the
beautiful ethnic dancing of the Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt.
Pommern food is offered along with the famous Kirschsuppe (cherry soup)
The festival is customarily held at the Mequon City Park, 11333 North
Cedarburg Street, Mequon, Wisconsin.
Pommerntag - Sonntag Nachmittag - Kennzeichnen Sie ihre
Kalender für diese große Feier ihres Erbes!
Pommerntag wird für den letzen Sonntag im Juni festgelegt.
Eigenschaften umfassen die Verein Datenbank mit unserer
Computerinstellung; die Datenbank enthält jetzt über 104,000 Namen die
zusammen in der Familie Stammbaumform verbunden werden.
Ausdruck sind bei Pommerntag frei! Es gibt kulturelle,
genealogische Anzeigen plus Buch und Diagrammverkäufe.
Normalerweise umfaßt Unterhaltung die Musik von das Bandes
Kameraden und das schöne ethnische Tanzen des Pommersche Tanzdeel
Freistadt. Pommern Nahrung wird zusammen mit em berümte
Kirschsuppe angeboten. Das Festival wird gewöhnlich am Mequon
Stadt-park, 11333 NordCedarburg Straße, Mequon, Wisconsin gehalten.
German Fest -
is held the last week-end in July. This unique festival
offers something for everyone! Genealogy, Sheepshead, Arts and
Crafts, Chess, German Books, Parades, Trachenschau, Spanferkel and
other good German specialties. It is a fun time for anyone who
loves good food and great Gemütlichkeit! This great
festival is over for this year, but Be sure to mark your calendar for
the last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in July for next year.
Deutschesfest - wird das
jetzte Wochenende im Juli festgelegt. Es ist ein einzigartiges
Festival, das Gemealogie, Schafskopf, Künste, Fertigkeiten,
Trachenschau, Spanferkel , und andere gute deutsche Spezialgebiete.
Gesetzt ihm in ihre Zeitplan fur folgendes Jahr. Sie lieben
die gute Nahrung und das Große Gemütlichkeit.
Pommern's harvest festival, was comparable to our Thanksgiving;
Ernte (meaning harvest) and Dank (meaning thanks). However,
the Pomeranian Erntedank was held on the first Sunday after the
29th of September, at the end of the harvesting season.
The harvesting of crops was a strenuous task in historic
times. The potato crops were harvested by the whole family, first
they dug out the potato mounds and then picked through the soil to
sort out the tubers. The children would gather the dried vines and burn
them, using the fire to roast the smaller potatoes, which were
considered a delicacy. When the last potato hill was harvested, they
climbed onto the decorated wagon and headed for home.
The custom of Erntedank was centered in the church. A
table was decorated with the best produce from the fields and gardens.
Baskets of fruits and a harvest crown (Erntekrone) made from the grains
and were carried into the church and onto the altar. In some churches
this produce was distributed to the poor and in others it was sold with
the proceeds going to the poor.
were ceremonial rituals connected to the festival, such as, the making
of the Alte - an old man made of straw, the decorating of their
tools, the wearing of the (crown), and most everyone wore their
trachten. Sometimes there were contests for the largest pumpkin
grown, or the heaviest fodder of carrots or potatoes. There were
festival dinners and everyone ate and drank a lot. Dances, games,
and plays were held on the barn threshing floor. These
celebrations varied somewhat from village to village.
Palmsonntag (Palm Sunday)
was deemed the beginning of Easter Week.
Homes were decorated with birch tree branches, or pussy willows
that had been forced to leaf out early by being brought into the warmth
of the homes a few days earlier.
Thursday) commemorates the Last Supper, the meal Jesus shared with His disciples
the day before He died. Gründonnerstag literally means
"green Thursday." Although the name probably comes from
an ancient word "grein", which means to cry or weep, the color
green is used that day as a symbol of renewal The meals that day
usually include green foods, like spinach, leeks, beans, and chives.
(Good Friday) is observed by Christians because it was the day Christ died on the cross. Karfreitag
literally means grief Friday and in most areas, the village was quiet
and even the church bells were silent. All
adornments on the altar and throughout the church were removed.
But, in some areas of Germany
the church services are announced by making a lot of noise with wooden
There was a tradition of lighting bon fires in the evening before
Easter Sunday to chase away the evil spirits of winter. The
young men would compete with each other to make the largest fire on a
nearby hill. The charcoals
from the fire were carried home as it was believed that these coals
would give a warmer greeting to guests when burned on a cool evening.
Easter - There is an old German saying that when a
pig was butchered, every part of that pig was eaten or used in one form
or another, that is, all except the squeal. So it was with many
things, everything was used for something, even the outer skins of
the onion. These skins of shades of red and brown were put
aside throughout the winter months for the coloring of the Östereier
(Easter egg). Leaves, grasses and small flowers were
carefully arranged around each egg, leaving much of the shell exposed,
then wrapped with a thin clothe and securely tied. The red onion
skins were placed in a kettle, the brown ones in another, and then
the eggs were carefully laid in the kettles and covered with cold water.
The eggs were boiled for about 10 minutes and when taken from the water
and the wrappings removed, they had beautiful designs from the
grasses, leaves and flowers on a background of various shades of
red, orange, and brown. They were now ready for the
forthcoming Österhas (Easter Bunny) to hide in various places for the children
eggs were given as presents as early as the 6th century.
The eggs were symbols of fertility and purity.
Sometimes eggs were placed in the attics to insure good health
and good fortune.
The young Frauleins had a special observance on Easter morning too.
Very early, before sunrise, they would walk barefoot and quietly through
the dewy grass to the nearest clear water creek. It was
important for them to be very quiet and not talk to anyone and wash
their faces in the cold water promptly as the sun began to rise.
The boys and young men would hide behind shrubs or trees on the
path to the creek and try to startle the girls and engage them in
The Frauleins believed that the "Easter Water" would magically
bless them and make them beautiful. They also filled a bottle with
this "Easter Water" from the stream so that they could
dip their fingers in it each morning to maintain their newly
Many Pomeranians saved the membrane from inside the eggs and covered
their fingertips with it. This membrane was kept on their
finger-tips throughout the day on Easter to protect them against
sickness and evil throughout the entire year.
Pommern Wedding, - The marriage procedure
began with the groom-to-be visiting the parents of the bride-to-be to
formally ask for her hand in marriage; the wedding date was
determined at that time. Then the forthcoming marriage was
announced in church on the Sunday before the wedding, and at this
time the couple would attend communion. The wedding
party usually began on a Friday, but the celebration continued on
through the following Sunday. Even as today, prior to the
wedding, the invitations had to be sent out, and this service was
performed by the Hochzeitsbitter; in some areas he was called
the "Hochtiedsirer" and this service was usually
performed by a brother of
the bride. He wore the Pommerscher Trachten or a black suit
with a tall black hat. This hat was decorated with
colorful flowers and ribbons. He wore a small bouquet of flowers in
the button hole of his suit, and carried a staff that was also decorated with
colorful ribbons and flowers. He rode his horse from house to
house, and was usually invited into the parlor of each home;
where he treated the future wedding guests to some Schnapps, while reciting
a memorized poem of invitation. He usually received a colorful
handkerchief or a ribbon as an acceptance to the invitation. This
handkerchief or ribbon was pinned to the back of his
jacket. As he greeted the
guests or helped in serving them at the wedding, the handkerchiefs
were still pinned to his jacket,
During the 19th century, it was customary for the bride to wear
black; it wasn't until the early 1900's that white became
fashionable. The groom was not allowed to see the bride before he
reached the church door. The guests arrived at the wedding
ceremony by 10:00 A.M. and were welcomed with the
music of a band of musicians. It was customary for the
guests to tip the musicians, especially if the music pleased them.
This custom was called "Zur Hochzeit einspielen."
The bridal dance began with the ceremony of the bride climbing onto a
stone (usually upon a historic grave of an ancestor) to ask for a
blessing from her ancestors. She would then recite, "Hier
stehe ich ganz allein auf einem breiten Stein, und wer mich lief hat,
holt mich ein" (Here I stand all alone on this stone,
and whoever loves me, brings me down.) The bride groom would then
have to climb up on the stone and the bridal dance would follow.
Customarily, everyone attended a bounteous chicken dinner, so that
"das Glück gackern" (happiness could cackle). The
dinner was followed with a night of dancing that continued until
around midnight. The bride was expected to dance with all the male
guests and the groom with all the females. The musicians
would continue to play until dawn, if tipped by the guests.
In some parts of Pommern, towards the end of the evening of
dancing, there was a "Wreath Dance."
every young bachelor tried to take the bride's bouquet, and the
groom was obligated to defend it. While in other areas, the bride
would throw her bridal bouquet in the air and the young unmarried girls would try to
catch it. Who ever caught it was expected to be the next bride.
The last dance was the "Broom Dance," during
young man would ride the broom between the dancing couples, and
when he dropped the broom, the lady was his partner. Everyone
would try to get a new partner, and whoever was left had to dance
with the broom.
The bride's parent's home was usually decorated with flags,
embroidered with the couple's initials, hung high on the building.
Three separated bottles were hung there too. The third day
after the wedding was the party of the bullet. The groom was
challenged to shoot one of the bottles, with a gun of the guests choice. This
was not an easy task especially since they had been partying for
The house was usually decorated with different themes each day.
On the last day of the celebration, arcs were made out of the center of
palm tree leaves. The bridal couple would walk underneath the
arcs, symbolizing that their love would last an eternity.
The bridal couple would host a party on the Sunday after
the wedding to demonstrate their graciousness and generosity.
It was also an opportunity to show off the bride's trousseau
and the gifts they had received. The following Tuesday was
moving day and everything was loaded onto a wagon and driven to the
groom's farm- yard. Oftentimes a rooster was stolen from the
bride's farm to be let loose at the groom's farm. The resulting
rooster fight was to foretell whether the groom or the bride would "rule the roost" in
the marriage; this was determined by
which rooster won the fight.
If the bridal couple did not host a large wedding, a Polterabend,
was usually organized by the bridal couple's young friends.
They would gather their kitchen utensils to bang on, old pottery
to break, and whatever else they could find to make a lot of noise.
The noise continued until the bridal pair rewarded them
for their efforts. The young noise- makers would bring small gifts
and often chickens to be used for the dinner the next day. These young
friends sometimes played tricks on the bridal couple, such as putting an old buggy or other items on the roof top of their house. The
bridal couple was expected to clean up the mess and bury the pottery
pieces behind the house before sunrise. This indicated that
the couple would have a peaceful married life.
Some superstitions connected with weddings were: 1. The bride
was not to look back on her walk to the church as it was thought to
symbolize that she was thinking of the things she had left behind.
2. If one of the wedding bands were to fall, it was thought that the person
who dropped it would be the first to die. 3. As the couple walked
from the church, they were to take the first steps together as man
and wife and walk very close to each other. This was to
prevent any bad vibes or evil powers from coming between them.
Customs - When a child was born in Pommern, the father
would plant a tree in the garden. If the child was a boy, he would
plant an apple tree, If the child was a girl, he would plant
a pear tree, and for twins a cherry tree. It was believed the
child would then grow up to be good and strong.
Pomeranians had many superstitions, perhaps originating from pagan
customs prior to their conversion to Christianity. This one came
into play when a baby was born during the period between an
individual's death and his burial. They feared that the dead
person's spirit could cause the child to die, or that it would cause the
baby to become an evil person. The parents of the child would
frantically call the pastor, even in the middle of the night, to
come and baptize the child immediately. The baptism had to
be done at once to prevent the death of the child.
The baptism of healthy babies was done normally
following the first regular Sunday church service after its birth.
The congregation would stay for the baptism, so that the ceremony
was thought to be part of the service. It was a common practice for the
parents to remain at home while the Godparents took the child to
church. The parents usually chose two male relatives
of the father and a female relative of the mother as sponsors
(Godparents) of a male child, and two female relatives of the mother and
a male relative of the father for a female child. This
position carried great responsibilities. They were to
guarantee that the child was taught their Christian faith and serve as
an example for the child by "living a good Christian
life." They were also expected to take over as parents of
the child, if something happened to the parents. It was customary for
the Godparents to remember the child with a present on their
birthdays and at Christmas until the child was confirmed.
There was a close relationship between the Godparents
and their Godchild, but this also had some superstitious omens.
For instance, if the Godmother carried the child quickly to
the church, it was believed that the child would walk early. It was
believed in some areas that the Godparent must use their right
hand to bestow presents to the child, otherwise the child would be
left handed. The Godparent also should never touch the
child while wearing gloves, or the child would then have weak and tiny
hands. Shortly after the baptism, the godparents would slip
their "Patengeschenk" under the pillow where the child lay.
In earlier times this was usually two Taler. These were put in a
box-like envelope and a pious verse was written on the envelope.
The baptism of twins also brought another superstition
into play. The pastor, knowing that twins were born,
would be taken by surprise when he was presented with only one
child to be Christened. When questioned regarding this, the
parents stated that it was a family custom not to baptize the twins
together; there was no other explanation. Most likely this
resulted from some confusion between certain superstitions and the
baptismal customs. It was also thought important that a male
child and a female child should not be baptized with the same
water, otherwise the male child would never grow a beard, but the
female child would.
Many Pomeranians also believed that the baptismal water
had healing powers. This lead one woman to make a milk-soup
out of the water, which she used as a cure-all for her children
whenever they were sick.
and the Funerals - When the time came that good
Christian Pomeranians knew death was near, they called the Pastor to
administer the sacrament of Holy Communion to insure their peace
with God. When the final moments of life was eminent, the
windows in the room were opened and the close relatives stepped away
from the bed to allow the dead person's soul to go directly to
heaven with no obstacles in its path. Everyone then prayed
and/or sang hymns. The clocks were all stopped at the moment
of death and a black cloth was hung on the entrances to the home and
also all over the mirrors. This was done to keep all satanic powers
In some areas of Pomerania, on the day after the
death, the church bells would toll, counting out the deceased
person's age, In other areas they rang out at three
intervals, the first time as the gravediggers removed the sod from
the grave site, then again when the digging was done, and the third
time when they completed their work.
The dead person's body was washed and dressed in his/her finest clothing
and laid out in a coffin in the parlor or on the dining room table, with
their feet towards the door. The body had to be carried out that
same way to protect the mourners from being carried along.
The coffin was taken to the cemetery on a
horse-drawn farm wagon. The horses were watched closely during
this ritual. If they turned their heads in the direction of
a home along the way, it was believed someone in that house
would be the next to die; and if they stopped in front of a
house, a person in that house would die soon.
It was customary for all the mourners to go the church
from the cemetery to attend the funeral service. Usually a
large dinner was served after the church service; it traditionally
included chicken soup. The meal started off on a somber note,
but after several servings of brandy, some of the
tenseness disappeared and the tongues were loosened. Gradually,
the the mourners became more cheerful and they began to enjoy each
Year's Eve (Sylvester)
The night of the Holy Sylvester, the last night of the year, has
always been the night of fools and a funny good time. The saint of this
day, Pope Sylvester I, according to legend is the man who was
leprosy and baptized the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.
was a great amount of drinking, dancing and singing at the
"Sylvester Balls" held that night.
As the old year ended and the new year was about to begin, everyone
refilled their glasses with champagne or wine. Then the hugs and
kissing began, accompanied with "ein gutes neues Jahr."
The bells throughout Germany rang and many revelers ran out in the
streets to enjoy the merry sounds. There was usually some private
fireworks displays and the sounds of shooting was often heard along with
the ringing bells.
there were some superstitions connected with Sylvester. People
dropped molten lead into cold water and then interpreted the shape
it made into a future event they believed would take place in the coming
year. If the shape could be interpreted as a heart or a ring -
it meant a wedding, a ship meant a journey, a pig meant there would be a
year of plenty, etc.
Traditionally, carp was eaten on Sylvester;
it was believed it brought future wealth. It was also important to
leave a bit of each type of food on the dinner plate, which was to
remain there until after midnight. This insured that they would
have plenty of food throughout the coming year.
May Day (Erster
, the first day of May is a national holiday, similar to Labor Day in
the USA. It is the International Workers' Day - Tag der
Arbeit, when workers gather for rallies and speeches, to collectively
express their unity. Also a variety of May festivals take place.
After the dreariness of winter, and the green fields and trees
appeared again, the celebration of spring on May Day was a joyous event,
a symbol of spring’s reawakening to fruitfulness.
began to bloom and chocolate Maikäfer (May beetles) were available in
the stores for the children. It
inspired many romantic poems and songs like "Mairegen bringt Segen"
(rain in May brings blessings).
were also ceremonial plantings of seedlings or small trees; homes and
dance halls were decorated with flowers and green leaves.
In some areas Maypoles were set up and there was community
dancing around it, holding hands, dancing, enjoying spirits, usually
Maiwein (May wine). It was a
happy day away from the workplaces.
Maiwein (May Wine), a white wine, dedicated to springtime and
flavored with fresh Waldmeister, an old-world herb, a small plant with
white blossoms, decorative and grown in a shady corner of a
German's herb garden. It is
used for flavoring only in May, when the new leaves are tender.
Historically, May was known as the "Wonnemond," the month
of lovers, when a young man's fancy turned to love. The young bachelors
organized parties and dances to romance the young maidens of the area.
Over the years, the Maubaum (May-tree) lost its original meaning
and became just a celebration of May and spring.