Easter in a Franconian village

 On our way to Schweinfurt, by taking the country road, we passed through some lovely little villages in Lower Franconia (Northern Bavaria).

Most villages had put a lot of effort into decorating in the traditional Easter fashion.

Easter decoration in Obersfeld

village of Obersfeld

Easter decoration in Schwebenried

village of Schwebenried

Among the tradition of decorating local spots, there is also the church custom of sending kids and teens out for Rappeln. This entails the churning of a handle attached to a wooden ratch box, which in turn creates a loud and crackling sound. This starts on Green Thursday when a group of children walks through the village letting out these crackling sounds, while singing, holding up traffic, and getting the villagers’ attention to remind them of silent prayer time.

We half expected to get awoken again on Saturday morning at 6 by this ruction, but it did not happen this year. They first came through Hambach main street later in the morning about 10.

Hammicher Rappler

Part of the group ratching their way through the village.

When I was a teen, girls were not permitted to join this activity. Nowadays – even in Bavaria, where traditions are held onto steadfast – girls are able to participate in most church-related activities, such as becoming altar girls, one of the three Wise Kings on Jan 6th (Public holiday in Bavaria), etc.

You can learn more about Franconia’s last ratch maker in German. (View pictures for more ratch box details).

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German about Easter listen to the podcast.

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