Sitting on a picnic bench under the canopy of trees and the warm sunshine of Bucks County, a fresh breeze blew across our faces. A question was posed to me from a friendly face with a curious nature.
“What is the significance of the rosemary in the Kirchweih?”
It may be something we as a club so used to a tradition, take for granted. We connect our own memories and feelings from a young age of our club, our friends, or our family. When we gather each year for the Kirchweihfest I hope each of us takes a moment to reflect on all of these traditions and on the symbols of them. Like a renewal of marital vows, or our mark of baptism, each year we bring together another Rosmarein Strauss quite often taken from many gardens of our members and decorated by the very friends and family spoken of before.
Our members gathered Friday, September 24, at the home of Werner III and together they cut Sträussleins tying them with blue and gold ribbons for our guests to wear the next day. Each attendee of the Kirchweih could then have a piece of the lucky plant with them. They tied together a bouquet and decorated it with ribbons as well. Thank you to Rolf Stielow for donating a shrub from his garden! Who would be the one to win it on Saturday?
The Phoenix Sport Club picnic grove was once again a wonderful venue for our event on Saturday September 25. The food was hot and tasty, the beverages cold and thirst quenching. We thank the Phoenix and Ruth Kreutzer Herbert for hosting us.
Some say it would not be an event without music. We are lucky to have the perfect sounds and songs from Die Heimatklänge making our affair feel like we were right at home.
Our Kirchweihgruppe this year was led by a capable and passionate Geld Herr. Sasha Malofiy Jr. marched with Michelle McFadden leading a group of over 30 Buwe and Mädele. As they danced a Stückl, he spoke with pride a “Kherweigruss,” the Strauss in hand.
The Children’s Cultural Dance group performed in the band break and did a great job. The smiles on their faces all together was a sight to behold. We truly do have a strong future in Kurt Blank, Genevieve Avrich, Isabelle Avrich, Christopher Deely, Michael K. Fricker, Charlotte Galgon, Joey Galgon, Meghan Menth, Mallory Menth, Eli Morales, and Evie Noel.
Of course our older dancers performed as well and raffle tickets were bought and sold. Gathering our members, our friends from neighboring clubs, and clubs somewhat further away is essential to our Kirchweih, and to our organization. The camaraderie that was felt that Saturday was infectious. When it came time to march our group in again, and raffle off the hat, the scarf, and the Strauss, the man with the sonorous voice Chris Deely did the honors. The hat was won by Carole Schwarz of Rochester, NY. The Scarf was won by Marlene Fricker who immediately gifted it to her husband and bandleader Bill Galgon. A hush fell over the crowd around then and the ticket for the top prize was drawn and read aloud!
Congratulations to Jenn Blank and her family on winning our coveted Strauss along with the great basket of cheer. Smiles, Juchezen, calls of “Buwe was Ham’r Heit,” were heard as they danced with their prize.
After the festivities were over and the Blanks lead the group out with the Strauss held high, was when my friend asked me that question. In answering I stated that the Strauss is not unlike the wreath at the top of a May pole, the advent wreath or the Christmas tree. It is evergreen representing a continuity, or an everlasting life. Our people used the plant at every stage of life from baptism to burial. Hans Gehl gives a better description at the DVHH:
“The little sprig of rosemary, as a symbolic mark, epitomizes fertility, health and life-creating power on special occasions such as christening, wedding and burial, Kirchweih, Swabian ball, and rendering of the pigs, throughout the events that make up a human life.”
We German Hungarians say often, “Continuing a Proud Tradition.” If there was a living symbol of that phrase for us, it would be the branch of evergreen rosemary, the Rosmarein Strauss.
Michael N. Fricker
The 2021 KIRCHWEIHGRUPPE:
Sasha Malofiy Jr., & Michelle McFadden
Jason Noel & Anna Martini
Joey Galgon & Meghan Menth
Alex Blank, Jenn Blank, & Kurt Blank
Danny Galgon & Charlotte Galgon
Eli Morales & Mallory Menth
Michael Fricker, Karina Fricker, & Michael K. Fricker
Chris Deely & Nichole Deely
Genevieve Avrich & Isabelle Avrich
Werner Fricker III & Allysa Reiter
Bob Walter & Sofi Walter
Stevie Paul & Kristen Reiter
Mike Stirm II & Emma Walter
Christopher Deely & Evie Noel