As anyone who has been following this page from the beginning knows I am not much of a writer.. It is more of a place for me to posts photos of what is going on around me during my time in Germany. But I feel that these photos need even a bit of an explanation, as this was one of the weirdest things I have ever come across.
*Note* This is all to the best of my knowledge so feel free to correct me for one reason or another
Klausentreiben, in a nutshel, is a night where people dress up as demon cows, run around town for a couple of hours and beat the shit out of the general public, with sticks. And only people from the Allgau seem to know about it. Everyone else has just looked at me like I am some kind of dominating freak when I have told/described to them Klausen. This all happens on the 4th, 5th and 6th of December. The first night being the girls turn (dressed as witches) before the guys get their fill on the last 2 nights.
I have heard a couple of interpretations for this tradition. One being is that they are beating the summer ghosts out of you, in turn for winter. And another is that with Christmas just around the corner they are making sure that everyone is staying in line and being nice, ready for Santa and Jesus. Although, even after searching the internet and finding nothing, I have not had a definitive answer. So I am still in the dark as to why these demon cows are running around town beating people.
We got back at midday on the last night to make sure we didn’t get caught in traffic on the way home and we made the start. We got to the town centre of Burgberg around 7pm (This happens in heaps of towns but all the photos below come from the Burgberg Klausentreiben) in time for the start. I was going to be out by myself as my girlfriend (after many years) was too scared to get out there with the rest of the town. As I got out she immediately locked the doors behind me (just because you are in a car, doesn’t mean you are safe). A gunshot is fired, signalling the start of Klausentreiben. Everyone goes silent and slowly but surely you start to hear the sound of cow bells coming from somewhere and behind the church 20 – 30 demon cows with massive cowbells come marching down the hill into the crowds. At first they don’t hit anyone, they just seem to intimidate and get into peoples faces, making sure everyone knows they are there, even though with the obnoxious bells and the fact they look like 7ft tall cows on two feet, it is impossible to miss them. After their little show, they start to disperse and most of the kids and teenagers just run. Some get caught and start getting a beatdown by the Klausen with their sticks. With minimal rules, 1 being you can’t get hit if you are holding a Gluwine (mulled wine) because you will burn yourself if you spill it, and another being they obviously can’t hit you in the face, a lot of surprising attacks happen. One being I saw a someone get held while 2 other Klausen hit him repeatedly with their sticks, another was when 3 girls ran for their car, thinking the Klausen had gone off to other parts of the town to surprise people, but weren’t fast enough. They got to their car just in time but not fast enough to lock the doors. The Klausen opened the doors and tried to pull them out of their car (why the girlfriend hastily locked the car behind me) and finally this girl got surrounded and beat by about 5 and told she can ether pray or keep getting hit. Being a tourist I didn’t get attacked much, as they rather go for their friends and people they know, but at one point when I was away from any crowd, a Klausen made a beeline straight for me, and gave me a couple of swift smacks to my legs. It wasn’t the hardest he could have hit but I still felt the sting for a while after it happened.
Everyone loves its! people go out every night during and just get drunk and use it as a reason to party. I was in awe of what was going on. Hope the explanation gives these photos a bit more sense.