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Kirchweih/Kirmes, the Parish Fair

KirmesIn the past, the festival of Kirchweih was a parish fair which was celebrated on the feast day of the local church’s Patron Saint. It was also often celebrated along with the harvest festival as the Church would be consecrated by giving thanks for the harvest. Convivial and high-spirited village festivals developed from Kirchweih at which people would, and still, play music, dance and eat and drink well. At these festivals there are often yearly markets with roundabouts, shooting galleries, tombola stands and many other attractions where people meet, chat and exchange gossip.

Traditional Kirchweih specialities are the “Kirchweihgans” with red cabbage and dumplings, which are often served for lunch after going to church. These are baked in the oven with herbs, onions and carrots. Cakes made with fresh fruit from the gardens, such as apple, cherry or plum cakes are eaten along with coffee. In the past people would give each other a bundle of pastries and biscuits to mark the festival.