"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad


Burn, Baby, Burn


What do you get when you cross pretzels with streamers on a stick?

Answer: The makings of the Sommertagszug, a.k.a. Summer Day Parade.

Halfway through the Lenten season, the entire town of Weinheim comes together to declare that winter is over and summer is here. Since we have had our fair share of winter weather here in Heidelberg, we were only too happy to participate with the happy villagers of Weinheim in ushering in the summer.

Here we are in the Marktplatz a few hours before the celebration.

Notice the peaceful, empty Marktplatz.

And the quiet streets of Weinheim lined with historic buildings.

Ahh, peaceful Weinheim. Kind of makes you want to commune with nature. Like this lovely cedar tree, the biggest in Germany.

But then, ever so gradually, the town of Weinheim came to life. Crowds started gathering the in town center, the beat of the drums echoed through the streets, and suddenly it seemed like everyone was waving sticks with streamers and pretzels.
The parade had begun.

Then the three main players arrived: the evergreen, the brown stick tree, and Mr. Snowman.

Now, the first two characters escaped rather unscathed.

But Mr. Snowman's fate was already sealed. He was marched down into the center of the Marktplatz to awate his fate.

But first, the children of the town had their role to play. Each one was dressed up in a springtime costume and carrying the streamer sticks.

Some pretzels even had a hard boiled egg stuck in the middle. As you can see, some parade participants got a bit hungry during the march to the Marktplatz and decided to have a nibble or two on their pretzel.

The band played some traditional little diddies. One of the crowd's favorites went something like this (in German): "Strih, strah, stroh, the summer days are here!

There were a few floats in the parade too. Like this one that says, "The winter was rather so hard, now the spring appears ready to start!"

These were my favorite. Nothing says spring like these flower babies.

The kids in their costumes kept coming and coming.

Pretty soon the Marktplatz was filled. Everyone was waiting with eager anticipation to see the fate of the snowman.

Then, the climax of the parade: Mr. Snowman was set ablaze.

Poor guy!

So long winter! Hello summer!

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