Monday, September 13, 2010

Viescheid/ A party WHEN the COWS come home!

   I've often heard the expression "we'll party until the cows come home." 
 I never really gave the expression much thought.  Perhaps VIESCHIED is what the person who coined the phrase meant.

Mac and I attended Viescheid in the small village of Seeg in Bavaria this weekend. Viescheid is a festival where the cows return to their village from the high mountain pastures in the alps.  Here they were attended to by their herders for the summer.
I guess the farmers could have a party until the "cows came home"  in September
because the herders cared for them in summer allowing a little more free time for the hard working farmers.

People line the streets to watch this celebrations as
"the cows come home."
In Seeg we strained our ears and knew that the cows were just around the corner as we heard the Oompah band  escorting them into the village atop a wagon.

Here are the herders escorting the lead cows.
Notice their hats with the fresh picked alpine flowers.
The lead cows have elaborate headdresses adorned with their own alpine flowers.

Here's Mac with Mahja, one of the lead cows.  He asked how a lead cow was picked and was told by a herder.  "We pick the best behaved cows to be the lead cows."
Apparently, a lead cow must not be too skittish or the herd will follow suit.

The sound was amazing as the cows rushed by with their bells
sounding, some deep gongs and some smaller tinkling high bells.
I was relieved to see no cow came down with a black cape which means it's herder died during the summer.  We were at one Viescheid where this very sad thing had occurred.

The really large bells are too heavy for the cows to wear all the time.
They are just for show when they come home.  However; the cows do wear smaller bells in the mountains. The herders need to be able to locate the cows and can tell which cow is where by the sound of their bells. If you have ever hiked in the alps, you'll understand why this is necessary.

These adorable little German girls brought up the rear on their ponies.

The cows are herded into a holding pen where the large bells are removed and farmers come to claim their cows and take them home.

Every place you look, you see the lovely lederhosen and dirndls.
I asked one little girl what she liked best about Viescheid and she told me,
"Getting to dress up in my best dirndl."

Now it's time for the party to really get started.

A folk band played.

The waitresses were busy bringing beer as the larger brass band played.

The cooks were busy cooking "fest food"

Whilst all the people busied themselves eating the food.
What a party it was!
The tent smelled of sauerkraut, wursts and beer.
The music was fantastic as we munched our way through lunch.

How cute are these two?

Mac and I had a wonderful time at Viescheid.
We thought this picture told it best as the Germans wandered home with even the smallest thinking what a lovely day it was!

Mac says, "Prost!"
If you'd like to attend a Viescheid in September go to

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