Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Folk Festival 3

Trades and Characters

Key refresher: Melody, Xyra, Goschenhoppen demonstrator

Yesterday we saw some of the games and toys Goschenhoppen kids in the 18th and 19th centuries played with when chores were finished. Today, well, just read on to see what we saw next. :)

Oh, what's all this? They're really pretty! 
These are the wares of the horn smith or horn worker.
Horns from cows and other animals as well as shells and bones were used to make things like buttons, drinking containers, combs, and many items that today are made out of plastic.
Hunting calls were even made out of horn. 
I know he has a turkey call.

Is that a schoolhouse?
Yep. Would you like to try some fraktur?
Fraktur. This was a style of writing and document design taught in schools and used for personal remembrances and important family documents.
This looks hard.
Well, it does take practice.
It can be messy too, so be careful not to get any ink on yourself or clothes.
Kirsten wouldn't like that.

Wie bischt du?
(looks at Xyra quizzically) Huh?
Hi! How are you?
Zimmlich guut.
Melody, this is Alice Reimer.
Pleased to meet you. What do you do here?
Alice is one of the many itinerants.
She roamed the area without a home.
Yes, I left home when I was really young because my parents didn't approve of my suitor (boyfriend). I walked the region for my entire life.
Wow! How far did you walk?
I'm not sure how far, because I walked for many, many, many year through different parts of Berks and Montgomery Counties over a radius of 50 miles.
Thank you for chatting with us.

Okay, what is that?
(chuckling) That is the Belsnickel.
Kind of...well, I'll let her tell you.
The Belsnickel would visit the homes in the area before Christmas. If you were bad I'd roll nuts across the floor to let you know I was coming and then you'd get punished with my switch for being naughty.
Ohhhh...that doesn't sound like much fun.
I bet you're a good girl though. So you I would give an apple or maybe an orange, if I had heard you were exceptionally good.
An apple or orange.
Yes, by December all the family's fruit would be preserved. Fresh fruit had to be brought up from areas in the south. That was not easy.
No cars, remember?
Right. The fruits were brought by ship to Philadelphia then they would finish the trip by horse and wagon.
Why are you dressed that way?
The belsnickel would have been someone from the community so the mask and old clothes would hide his or her identity. Since it was cold many times the coat would be covered in animal pelts. Pelts became bels and nickel is from St. Nicholas.
That makes sense. Thank you for chatting with us. Have a nice day.

I hope you enjoyed today's post. Come back again tomorrow for our next installment of our visit to the Goshenhoppen Folk Festival



  1. Very interesting! Was Kirsten scared of her? :)

    1. Melody was nervous at first, but then was okay with her. A lot of the little children at the festival are scared of Belsnickel.

      (Don't forget Kirsten stayed home and lent Melody her dress. They look very much alike except for the eyes. Melody has brown and Kirsten blue.)

  2. What interesting facts you shared today. The two people holding Melody must have loved interacting with you both. I've learned new things about the Goschenhoppen area of Montgomery and Berks Counties.