|Candied almonds, cookies, candy|
|The master peeler shows his wares and his skills|
|Flammkucken, the German version of thin crust pizza|
|Fresh, herbed focaccia|
Ok, fess up. While you Protestants finish your sodoku, or stare out the window, can any of you Catholics tell me who Wendelin was? All you backsliders give up? St Wendelin is the patron saint of plague. I know. It was right on the tip of your ecclesiastical tongue, right?
St Wendelin’s history is shaded in the lore and scraps of history from the middle of the first century after Christ. Apparently, the son of a Scottish king, he embarked on a pilgrimage to Rome. On his way back, he stopped off in Trier and became a hermit. Criticized for just hanging out, he took up sheep herding and along the way acquired a heavy rep for curing animals. When a pestilence hit cattle of the area in the 14th Century, his intercession was credited with saving the herds. There’s even a city in Germany named for him, St Wendel.
Way back at the beginning of the Eighteenth Century, when local cattle were threatened with disease, one German town held a festival in St Wendelin’s honor. Services, I’m told, were a relay situation, lasting twelve hours, with participation by several priests. That was back in 1710. After enthusiasm died out for twelve hour sermons, not to mention all the wars and pestilence St Wendelin couldn’t handle, the custom gradually withered.
Flash forward to 1986, when the merchants of Ramstein saw a golden opportunity to combine a market day, tradition, religion, and the heartwarming cacophony of cash registers. Wendelinus Market lives again on Saturday and Sunday of the last weekend in October!
But, even with commercial interests in the fore, at least some remnants of religion and tradition remain. You can still bring your animals to be blessed.
This year’s festival featured African foods and articles, as well as twenty French stands selling everything from soap to cheese to sausages.
Like any good fest in a German town or village, there was plenty to eat and drink. The fragrance of hot wine and roasting meat wandered with the crowds down the narrow streets and into the open air of the old market place. With the advent of much lower temperatures, Glüwein was once again in evidence, but also the obligatory wines and beers and schnapps, wursts and potatoes.
Once you go to a German village fest, stroll with a Brat in your fist and a warm Glüwein in your other fist, you’re addicted. The air is always frosty and clean. The crowds are always friendly. St Wendelin would be proud.
|A woodturner at work...|
|...and some of his work|
|Amazing what you can do with paper and light.|
|Ribbons for her hair...|
|Neatest fried potatoes I've seen...and delicious.|
|Very nice, but at 147 Euros or $195, pretty pricy for a wreath.|