Friday, August 4, 2017

You've met Krampus and Belsnickel, now meet...

One of the Perchten!

Last weekend, my mom and I went to German Fest in Milwaukee. We had a lot of fun. There were many sights to see, but one thing stood out as prime blog material!

This figure is one of the Perchten. His fur is blowing in the wind. A little girl who seemed strangely unafraid walked up and started petting the fur.

So here's the full Perchten standing in front of his creator's work area. I took one of the sculptor's business cards, so I could give you guys his information and a link to his online gallery of work: Bryan T. Berenson, Master Sculptor

Check out his "gallery" link to see some of the awesome masks he has carved.

The artist at work:

So, who are the Perchten? Well, this brief article with some information was sitting near the figure. So I took a photo of it. There was no way I was going to remember this creature's name if I didn't take a pic of it!

The "Perchtenlauf" is the procession the Perchten walk in. There is a folk custom in the Tyrol region of Central Europe called Perchtenlaufen. (If you follow that link, you'll read some wild stuff.)

The Perchten appear in December to banish away winter and any evil spirits hanging around at that time. These creatures look almost scary enough to intimidate an entire season. The Perchten are the entourage of Perchta.

Perchta is a goddess in German folklore. She can look pretty (this gif is the image that came to my mind) or really creepy and craggy. I'm not going to get into too much here, but she's worth reading about. You can read a little about how the Perchten are connected to her in the "related beings" section:

Perchta's Wikipedia Page

It's worth visiting that page, if only to see the picture of another Perchten mask. That's one of the scariest yet!

These parading Perchten are similar to some other German creatures that come out in groups, wearing bells and carrying sticks, clubs, or in this picture, some kind of wooden farm tool. Hairy, menacing creatures.

So, of course I wanted to see a modern celebration of people in these costumes. There were plenty of videos to choose from on YouTube. I managed to find one without blinky strobe lights and flames or intense Metal music. This video shows a parade with many kids in the audience. The Perchten here are shaking hands or posing for photos. That's different from the other videos I watched where they were more or less attacking or chasing people. This is the tamest I could find:

There are also what appear to be interviews with the mask makers/sellers in this video. I don't know, it's all in German. I couldn't help noticing that some of the masks in the beginning of this video very strongly resemble the head witch in that 1990 movie The Witches. Do you remember that one? Angelica Houston is in it. And that movie has a strong German vibe. Just listen to Angelica here. So... someone was influenced character design-wise. Here's a clip of what I'm talking about (warning: big time spoilers and ickiness)

It's funny, how in so many of the comments under this movie clip people are saying how they were "traumatized" by watching The Witches, and yet I just watched a bunch of little kids at that Perchtenlauf event acting totally calm. And they were face to face with these things! I think culture plays a role here...

Speaking of witches, we saw one at German Fest. This was more of the Kitchen Witch variety! It was funny walking behind this witch, watching even the grumpiest of faces start smiling when they looked at her.

I'd been spotted!

The witch then (grossly enough) starting twanging this booger looking thing on a spring next to her nose. This was probably a photo op she was trying to provide for me, but I was too busy laughing to take a picture.

It turns out this witch was quite masculine, complete with a full mustache. I saw him later in the day sitting at a bar with his mask off. 😁

No comments:

Post a Comment