Posts about Local Traditions

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

Sardinia: Mamoiada Carnival

13.02.2020

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 being 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.

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Reading time: about 4 minutes
Horses galopping in the snow: The White Turf Horse Race in St. Moritz.

White Turf: The „St. Moritz Roar“

26.01.2020

When the definition „perfect symbiosis“ between a resort and its guests needs to be satisfied, few places come to mind. St. Moritz is one of them. In by-gone decades, the glamorous guest list included Charles Chaplin, Greta Garbo, the Kennedy’s and the controversial Shah of Persia. Or actress Brigitte Bardot and Gunter Sachs in each other’s tow. All of them readily showcased themselves on this elitist alpine merry-go-round under the scrutinising eye of the rainbow press. Whereas generations, nationalities and names on the sophisticated society chart prove exchangeable, the denomination „St. Moritz“ has reliably positioned itself as a sparkling gem safely embedded in craggy mountainous surroundings.

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Reading time: about 4 minutes
The Oktoberfest in Munich

Oktoberfest Munich: O’zapft is’!

12.09.2019

On Saturday, September 21st, 2019 at high noon sharp Munich’s Chief Mayor – the Lord Mayor – will once again ceremonially exclaim: ‘It’s tapped!’ The Oktoberfest, a festival recurring for the 185th time, has been exerting its magnetism on the crowds since 1810. It means huge fun for regular folks, works as an illustrious place-to-be-seen for celebrities of all shapes and sizes and could even enhance or jog a career of one trade or another. And it serves as a welcome runway for the presentation of suitably traditional garb (such as Dirndl, Lederhosn or Lodenjanker) – or for a rare species of couture whose daring cross-over creations are at times hard to swallow for the more conservative. Read article

Reading time: about 9 minutes
Scottish Ceilidh dancers at the height of their frolicsome performance.

Scotch Whisky: Sharing with Angels

10.09.2019

Proper spelling first: Scotch whisky has no e between the k and the y! But if there is an e wedged between the k and the y, the respective whiskey variety usually originates from Ireland, the United States or even from far-away Japan. Whereas wiskey or wisky clearly derive from nowhere, except perhaps from the brains of committed non-whisky-drinkers or those battling with the effects of over-indulgence. The popular spirit’s name, by the way, was simplified in the course of history from the Gaelic Uisge Beatha – meaning water of life – to Whiskybae and finally to Whisky.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
The Wild Haggis: Fact or fiction?

Scotland: Is the Wild Haggis fact or fiction?

3.01.2019

Bringing down the rare Haggis scotticus – the Wild Haggis – to secure the next traditional Haggis meal – requires utmost agility and perseverance by human persecutors equipped with equally-measured lower extremities. One must know that Wild Haggii vary in characteristics and that it is two different genera who roam steep and rough highlandish terrain. In both cases the legs on their left are different in length from the ones on their right – and vice versa. Either way, their unusual physique allows them to swiftly climb and scuttle around their regular habitat unperturbed by topographical challenges, albeit in one single direction only: Wild Haggii featuring longer legs on the left, move around clockwise, whereas the ones relying on extended limbs on their right, will logically proceed counter-clockwise. A refined GPS system usually prevents painful head-on collisions and all Haggii, limbed in whichever fashion, are said to lead a fairly peaceful coexistence.

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Reading time: about 4 minutes