Posted on July 21, 2013
The children saved the entire town!
At least, that's what the legend claims...
Today the people of Dinkelsbuhl, Bavaria (Germany), celebrate the “Children's Reckoning” with a play, parades, and dances. So let's learn just what this reckoning was supposed to be!
It was during the Thirty Years' War of the 1600s, and an army of Swedes was approaching this Bavarian town. Apparently the war had already destroyed much of Germany, and the townspeople were sure that their town would soon be in the same plight. But still the adults gathered in a town council meeting and tried to figure out what they could do in defense.
The gatekeeper's daughter was a girl named Lore. She had an idea—why not gather all the children of the town, she said, and have them ask the Swedish commander for mercy?
I am surprised that the council approved this plan, but Lore and a band of other children gathered their courage, began to sing, and marched out to meet the incoming army. When they reached Colonel Sperreuth, Lore knelt before him and asked that the town be spared.
And—at least according to the legend—Colonel Sperreuth agreed. He told the townspeople, “Children are the rescuers of Dinkelsbuhl. Always remember the debt of thanks you owe them.”
During today's festival, adults dressed in costume play the roles of the Swedish soldiers and of the townspeople and town council. Children, of course, dress in costume to reenact the singing, kneeling, and request for mercy. After this play, there is a parade of the Dinkelsbuhl Boys' Band and performances of a medieval sword dance. All the children who participate in the festival receive colorful bags of candy as a token of Dinkelsbuhl's unending gratitude to children!
By the way, about 300,000 people attend this festival!
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