And Gutenberg Lived Here: Sunday in Germany

Sunday, as I have often written in past blogs, is a big deal here in Germany.

For the early risers, for example, we have the possibility of running:

(through the fields collecting things.)

And in an area on the edge of the town, with nothing but cash crop fields behind us, and, in season the possibility of collecting a little white asparagus-

resale value up to twenty dollars the pound…

Some runners have gps bio-rhythm step counters on,

Others rucksacks.

Then there are the dog lovers-

Out every day early morning and late night.

And congregating for upwards of a half hour-

even in the worst ice and snow-

to exchange the local news.

(We get it for free by breakfasting on the balcony, since the soccer stadium echos everything being said for miles, whether we want it or not.)

The most interesting of these are the three o’clock elderly ladies with dogs, (the ELD) who gather to drink coffee at a bench next to the wayside cross pointing the way to Drais-

and if you have ever ridden a bicycle, the first were called Draysiner, a sort of bicycle without pedals you sit on and move yourself forward by scooting your feet. They are actually faster than a bicycle, and were first made in Drais.

Thus, this Roman, medieval and still being used in modern days, path to Drais has always been a stopping place to view the city, and the hills, and check out the situation and share gossip before heading for one of the houses inside the Mainz walls.

To catch the 3 pm gossip, since you don’t want to get caught dawdling over cake during the week- what would the neighbors say…. you can, of course, even in winter, use the three o’clock time to hang the hand wash out on the balcony.

(On really icy days, you have to fake it by admiring the view)

That, then is the early morning crowd.

Then there are the 10, 10:30, 11,  Sunday-go- to-church crowd-

Actually not so many here as in the states.

For although the giant cathedral downtown is always filled on Sunday,

since they have a huge standard mass with all the trimmings-

something called Mainz liturgy- that was set sometime in the middle ages,

colorful historical robes,

swiss guards like at the Vatican showing you to your seat,

good music, ie a real, monstrous organ, with special registers for angels, the pope, and the kaiser that shake the walls,

and priests who are trained like opera singers to intone,

in the small local churches-

one minister and small church building given by either the state-run catholic church, or the state-run protestant church, for each three thousand registered members (you don’t register, you are registered at birth, and have to file papers to leave, if you don’t like it)

except for the Polish immigrants, or the Italians, or Spanish, all with masses in their own language,

only about thirty of the three thousand registered Christians go on Sunday.

The rest are sleeping in.

Or, as one of the state cabinet members says,

she has a regular Sunday morning thanksgiving service at home- drink milk coffee, eat fresh croissants, read the newspaper, and listen to Mozart.

I guess she gives thanks to the national opera house.

Oh, and one final and interesting fact for the religious part of Sunday-

or, in the following cases, not Sunday-

Mainz has been known, since the middle ages, as “Little Jerusalem”, so we have a huge and very beautiful new temple.

We also have a very large and architecturally fascinating looking mosque,

A large Kingdom Hall, for the Jehova’s Witnesses, who baptize each summer in the Mainz 05 soccer stadium,


a few Baptists and Adventists and Mormons,

all of the above with FILLED services,

And a very large and extremely interesting international Druid lodge.

Not to mention the nature worshipers,

agnostics, who meet one night a week in a local pub,



And the largest of the religious groups: the members of the “Companies-”

the carnival societies,

who, since they are tightly linked to the Catholic Church-

often hold their meetings in a pub after church on Sunday morning.

Yup, life is definitely not boring here.

And especially on Sunday morning.

To see what we do here Sunday afternoons, tune in next Sunday.

copyright 2015  All rights reserved

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