Summer Day Parade (Sommertagszug)
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Every year on Sunday Laetare, Weinheim's children celebrate the arrival of spring with their own festive procession - the Summer Day Parade (Sommertagszug). The highlight is the symbolic burning of the snowman on the historic market square.
The summer day procession is an ancient spring festival whose origin, although in simple form, dates back to pre-Christian times. One believes to recognize precursors of the summer day routes on old rock paintings. It has been proven that children from Mosbach have worn summer day poles already 400 years ago. The first reference to a summer day procession in our closer homeland can be found in a letter of the "Lieselotte von der Pfalz" from the year 1696, in which she refers to this beautiful custom in Heidelberg. Already in this time the Sunday "Laetare", i. e. 3 weeks before Easter, was considered as a celebration of the summer announcement. This date has been maintained until today.
In Weinheim itself, the summer day parade can be traced back to the 60s of the 19th century. There were small groups of children walking through the village. They sang the song of spring and were presented with eggs.
In 1902 the "Gemeinnützige Verein Weinheim" took the summer day parade under its direction. Special patrons were the manufacturer Franz Josef Heisel and the local researcher Karl Zinkgräf.
Since the end of the 2nd World War, the summer day committee of the city of Weinheim has been the carrier of the summer day parade. The chairman of the committee was the first mayor for decades. Today it's the mayor. The other members are interested citizens, representatives of schools, representatives of the police, fire brigade and Red Cross, as well as city officials directly involved in the operation of the parade. The costs of the parade are borne by the city of Weinheim as well as by donations.
The stick - the stick decorated with coloured paper and coloured ribbons is an expression of joy. In addition, it was believed that the stick possessed magical powers and let life force pass over to anyone who was touched by it. It brings fertility to humans, animals and plants.
Making a summer day stick yourself isn't that hard. Here (423 KB) you can find a step-by-step instruction for download. (Sorry, at the moment only in german language available.)
The pretzel is a symbol of the sun. Their shape is developed from the sun wheel.
The egg is a symbol of life and fertility.
The box bouquet means the green of the awakening nature.
On the train, the “Butzen” goes too. The “Butzen” are larger-than-life figures. The “Butze” from straw symbolize the winter, the one of green fir branch the summer. They're hung with pretzels, shoes and wine bottles. Actually, they shouldn't go along quietly in the train, but move against each other again and again to express the fight of summer against winter. In the past, the Heidelberg children were given a pair of shoes for themselves and a bottle of wine for their parents on a summer's day when they had gone up to the castle. They had to wait there until the castellan had unlocked the lock gate with his keys. This is also sung about in today's summer day song.
The Summer Day Song (Das Sommertagslied) in German:
„Strih, Strah, Stroh, de Summerdag is do.
De Summer und de Winder, des sin Geschwisterkinder.
Strih, Strah, Stroh, de Summerdag is do.
Summerdag stab aus, blos em Winder die Aage aus.
Her die Schlissel klinge, wolle uns was bringe.
Was dann? Roure Woi un Brezel noi.
Was noch dezu? Paar neie Schuh.
Strih, Strah, Stroh, de Summerdag is do.
Heit iwers Johr, do simma wira do.
O du alder Stockfisch, wammer kumme, do hosch nix
als e Schipp voll Kohle, de Guggug soll dich hole.
Strih, Strah, Stroh, de Summerdag is do.“
The Summer Day Song (Lyrics as PDF file download) (681 KB)
The Summer Day Parade today
Over the years, the face of the train has changed a little. Beside sticks and slugs there are various representations, which should have however all a purchase to the spring. The majority of the approximately 2,500 to 3,000 train participants are pupils from Weinheim schools and children from kindergartens. However, many Weinheim clubs also participate, which usually design very attractive large cars. So that the summer day songs can also be sung vigorously, the train is accompanied by about six music groups (depending on the size of the train). Finally, the big snowman is burned on the market square, thus expressing the final victory of spring over winter. The summer day puzzle will be published after the train on the Internet and in the local press. All participants will also receive a commemorative plaque created especially for the summer day train. The summer day badge was first issued in 1979. In 2002, the anniversary “100 years summer day train" was celebrated in Weinheim.
The Summer Day Plaque can be bought at the Tourist Information.