Mamuthone Mask_Credits: Enrico Spanu:www.enricospanu.com. License: CC BY-NC-SA..

Sardinia: Mamoiada Carnival

13.01.2021

From man to beast

Even a candidate as stubborn as winter himself must get cold feet at the sight of a Mamuthone (header image) – not to speak of an entranced hoard of them foot-stamping and cow-bell-rattling on streets and around the many bonfires lit for the grave occasion. The noise is deafening and the atmosphere perturbing. The aim of this ancestral rite is to scare winter and any evil away with all the might one can muster. Thus, room is made for spring and to welcome the good it promises to bring. In order for nature not to oversleep, the tradition of stamping and rattling, by employing full weight of body and bells, is a drastic means of reliably shaking her out of hibernation and to remind her: Now is the time for renewal! Measures that seem to have worked over ages. Read article

Reading time: about 4 minutes
Beethoven's Ode to Joy

The Sound of Friendship: Beethoven’s „Ode to Joy“

20.12.2020

For L.v.B.’s 250th anniversary

Whenever there is reason to celebrate on a festive scale, a dramatic sound scape must not be missing. Worldwide, solemn ceremonies are carried by Beethoven’s „Ode to Joy“ (Ode an die Freude), being played by enthusiastic orchestras and sung by effervescent choirs in front of a mesmerised audience. Since its debut in Vienna in 1824, the compassionate tune and emotional lyrics manifested themselves as the epitome of the brotherhood of man.

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Reading time: about 4 minutes
A toy harbour scene: The Miniature Train World in Hamburg's attracts millions of visitors each year.

Hamburg: The world’s largest model train exhibition

10.12.2020

Where’s Gulliver?

If a long-hatched childhood dream is ever to come true, entrepreneurial reason mostly isn’t the proper leverage to make it happen. Frederik Braun and his twin brother Gerrit still bravely ventured out on a project not only demanding a vast amount of courage, enthusiasm, utmost technical aptitude, congenial logistics and never-ending perseverance – but also a mighty portion of disregard towards the shaky economical outlook and the financial risks lurking virtually everywhere. A browse through a model railway shop in Switzerland’s capital Zurich back in 2000, triggered the idea for what was to become the largest and most successful exhibition of model railways worldwide. Read article

Reading time: about 3 minutes
Santa with his eight reindeer as seen by poet Clement Clarke Moor.

Ho ho ho: Good tidings from the North Pole

8.12.2020

It’s Christmas time, and most of us are sucked up by the current that swashes along with it. Year by year, it seems to be swashing earlier and to suck more. Easter rabbits have hardly vanished from shelves, August-heat blazing and: forward come chocolate Santa Clauses and gingerbread loaves, twinkling stardust-sprinkled Christmas balls and light chains. By October, carols obtrusively blaring from loudspeakers near and far have long lost their magic – and meaning. In November, commerce and media insist that it is high time for us to finalise our Christmas shopping, and we are constantly reminded of the Western-World citizen spending an average of 280 Euros on presents alone. Those who won’t comply, will be forever stigmatised stingy misanthropists, who – not even for the holiest of occasions – overcome their revolting parsimony.

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Reading time: about 6 minutes