Our hosts in Vienna are the best. They have never given us a dud recommendation. From performances to swimming pools to restaurants to family vacations, they have always sent us off in the right direction. This year, they sent us to Hallstatt (where we've been 2-3 times before) to see the procession for Corpus Christi. I should have done some preparation, but you can find out about it here:
First thing we heard were these guys, setting off guns beginning at 6:00am. Every 15 minutes.
We made our way across town (early, like good kids from Grandview would for stake conference) to the Catholic church, and were greeted by villagers in their traditional costumes. The formal ones that we'd never seen before. I know now that these hats are called Goldhauben.
There were lots of people in their traditional dirndls and lederhosen too. We learned that the traditional colors for this Salzkammergut area are pink, purple, and green.
And I need to confirm this, but one of the students told me that the Goldhauben caps are passed down from woman to woman when she is married. And allegedly that she has to give it back if she gets divorced. It looks to me like they're an order or sorority or society of Goldhauben women.
The Archbishop of Salzburg came down to officiate at the high mass, and we were grateful to get seats, because it was standing room only. I liked the little bits that Rob translated for me: that the archbishop has considered the change in greeting from traditional "Grüss Gott" to the more modern "Hallo"; he likes to pretend that the kids are saying "hallelujah" to each other. And he blessed those who doubt, recognizing that it is an important thing, and prayed that they might someday like Thomas, the great doubter, be able to feel the marks in the hands and side and say, with him, "My Lord, My God."
Then we rushed down to the pier where Gretl had gotten us reservations on the brand new Hallstatt boat. We hopped on board and pushed out a ways so that we could see the Archbishop lead the Corpus Christi procession.
In other places, the procession is done on land, carrying the Blessed Sacrament over fields and meadows lined by cut trees, but here, because of lack of space, the procession has been done out on the lake for about 400 years.
Instead, all of the boats are decorated with beech branches, and everyone out on the water follows the archbishop's boat around as he takes the Blessed Sacrament out over the water. In many places the volunteer firemen dress up and participate. Here, it was the firemen's association boat which pushed a large raft carrying the village band.
The boat in back with the arch (and what looks like a holy outhouse) is the Archbishop's boat. The little one in front is called a Fuhr, and they are the local boat, designed to carry heavy loads in shallow water.
[click to enlarge] And this gives you more of an idea of the whole scene. It was yet another sublimely picturesque event at Hallstatt. So mark your calendars for the Thursday after Trinity Sunday and make it a point to come!