What’s Behind That Tradition?

Winter traditions, much like the long dark times of winter, arose from a need to banish the dark and welcome the light. We share just a few—as there are so many—interesting events with you.

Courtesy Bremen.de


Leswett in Bremen
Every year on Jan 6th, Epiphany, the Bremen ice bet—the traditional custom that checks whether of de Werser geiht or rises (the Weser is flowing or frozen)—takes place.

Although the Weser has not frozen over for decades, the people of Bremen continue to uphold the tradition of ice betting. At 12 o’clock sharp, around 15 men in black follow a 99-pound tailor to the Punkendeich (Osterdeich). The latter checks, with a hot iron, whether the Weser is “going or standing”. The famous bet, Leswett in Low German, dates to 1828 and is based on a meeting of 18 merchants. Traditionally, the winners can look forward to a communal dinner of cabbage, which the losers have to organize for a large group as part of a foundation festival for the German Society for the Rescue of the Shipwrecked People on the third Saturday of January.

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