This past week has been busy with Christmas parties as well as the final push by our contractor to complete the kitchen renovations. December is racing along and I have been too busy to enjoy the simple pleasures of the season. Today we took time on a lovely sunny afternoon to visit the annual Christkindl Market at the city hall. The temperatures were just around freezing and with the sun, the weather was perfect for the outdoor vendors and performers.
Last year I wrote about Organ Grinder Klaus. He happened to read the post and emailed me asking if I would introduce myself the next time he was in town. I talked to him as he took a break from his music and found that we share some things in common. He lives in the town where my parents grew up and where I went to school for two years. He loves trails and nature and works hard lobbying for safe walking and bike trails for students and other users. Klaus is a regular at this Christmas market and a popular performer.
Many Christmas traditions are derived from pagan and Christian elements which are combined in this ancient solstice celebration. Choirs sang carols and dancers from the local German clubs performed in colourful costumes. Each year there is a food vendor who serves roasted pork. All that was left near closing time on Sunday afternoon was the head of the unfortunate animal. It reminded me of the Boar's Head Carol and the ancient Yule tradition of the Boar's Head Feast which is still celebrated today.
We had potato pancakes and applesauce instead...
"The Boar's Head is probably the oldest continuing festival of the Christmas season. This pageant is rooted in the 1300's when the boar was sovereign of the forest. A ferocious beast and menace to humans it was hunted as a public enemy. Like our thanksgiving turkey, roasted boar was a staple of medieval banquets. As Christian beliefs overtook pagan customs in Europe, the presentation of a boar's head at Christmas came to symbolize the triumph of the Christ Child over sin. " (source)
- The boar's head in hand bear I
- Bedecked with bays and rosemary .
- I pray you, my masters, be merry
- Quot estis in convivio.
- (howsoever many are at the feast)
- Caput apri defero,
- (I bring the boar's head)
- Reddens laudes Domino.
- (rendering praises to the Lord)