Friedrich Hecker was a hero to the vast majority of German Americans living in the United States during the mid-19th Century. The Friedrich Hecker Monument was dedicated on October 1, 1882 before a crowd of over 15,000 in our beautiful Benton Park, in St. Louis, Missouri.Born September 28, 1811 in Eichtersheim, Grand Duchy of Baden, he was a German lawyer and politician, and one of the primary agitators in the 1848 Revolutions in Germany. Following the 1848 German Revolution he moved to the United States, but maintained an acute interest in events in Germany. In the spring of 1849, the Baden revolution re-ignited, and Hecker returned to Europe to participate. However, he only made it as far as Strassburg when word came that the insurrection had been defeated by Prussian troops and he returned to Illinois once again.
Leading up to the Civil War, he became increasingly focused on the issue of abolishing slavery, and wrote the forward to a German translation to Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Manso that all of his fellow Germans could know this great writing. After the Battle of Fort Sumpter, when Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers, Hecker would begin recruiting, and Illinois exceeded its allotment of 6,000 volunteers in five days. Hecker would serve as a Brigade commander in the Union Army during the Civil War, leading the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, XI Corps. After the war, Hecker returned to his farm in Summerfield, Illinois. It was in 1871 that he gave his very famous address at St. Louis of his enthusiasm for the German Americans and their glorious future in their newly united Fatherland, the United States. He passed away on March 24, 1881 and was buried at his farm in Lebanon, Illinois called Summerfield.
On Sunday, August 12, 2018 Johannes Fechner (MdB) a member of the German Bundestag, will be visiting our area to lay wreaths at both the Benton Park Memorial and the burial site in Summerfield, Illinois. Members of the Illinois Civil war Hecker Regiment will be at the Summerfield Ceremony along with members of the Missouri Sons of Union Veterans. The wreath laying at Benton Park will take place at 10am. and is located at 2101 Wyoming St. St. Louis, 63118. The wreath laying at Summerfield will take place at 12pm Noon and will be at 9920 Summerfield South Rd, Lebanon, Illinois. Everyone is most welcome to attend either or both events. Please feel free to contact us using the comment section if you would like further information.
The Fifth Season begins today!! After the 12 days of Christmas, what’s next? winter sets in with its frigid fury. Trying to hibernate like a Polar Bear will only last so long. Then you remember that back on November 11th, at the 11th hour, that the Council of Eleven announced their plans for the Karneval Season! While suspended for Advent, which was a great distraction, has ended with the Three Kings visit on January 6th, the Twelth Day of Christmas. Now what? It won’t be long and Lent will begin in preparation for Easter. Germans and German-Americans begin to plan one big week of Karneval while they can. The next four weeks build in anticipation! If you are a Missouri German and want to enjoy Karneval in 2018 visit http://stl4stuttgart.com/
Karneval, Fasching and Fastnacht
There are different words in German for the Carnival or “Mardi Gras” Season: Karneval, Fasching and Fastnacht. Although all three refer to the same pre-Lenten holiday season, they each reflect the regional customs and traditions in Germany. Missouri’s Germans have immigrated from all over Germany for the past 175 years. The Fifth Season in St. Louis is most commonly referred to as Karneval and began back on the 11th of November !
In Germany Karneval is the word used for the Rhenish (Rhineland) version of carnival in northwest Germany (except in Mainz), while the word Fasching refers to the similar celebration in southern Germany and Austria. The term Fasching is also seen and heard in Berlin and other parts of northern Germany. Fastnacht, mostly used in Swabia and Switzerland, is also used in the northern city of Mainz. However, that still does not mean that these words are interchangeable. Karneval, is a more modern (17th century), Latin-based word borrowed from French and Italian. The true origin of the word is uncertain. The German word used to be written with a C rather than today’s K-spelling.
The Carnevale in medieval Venice is one of the earliest documented carnival celebrations in the world. It featured still-popular traditions, including carnival parades, masks and masquerade balls. Gradually the Italian Carnevale customs spread north to other Catholic European countries, including France. From France it spread to the German Rhineland and, through colonization, even to North America (Mardi Gras). The word Fasching dates back to the 13th century and is derived from the Germanic word vaschanc or vaschang, in modern German: Fastenschank refers to the last serving of alcoholic beverages before Lent. In the 19th Century the 40-day Lenten period of fasting was strictly observed. People refrained from drinking alcohol or eating meat, milk products and eggs. The English word “fast” (to refrain from eating) is related to German fasten. And according to GermanWay.com “Fastnacht, refers to the Swabian-Alemannic carnival, which differs in some ways from Fasching and Karneval, and is found in Baden-Württemberg, Franconia (northern Bavaria), Hesse and much of Switzerland. Although this word looks like it comes from the German for the “eve of Lent,” in fact it is based on the Old German word fasen (“to be foolish, silly, wild”). Thus the word, sometimes spelled Fasnacht (without the t) actually means something like “night of being wild and foolish.”
In Germany parades are a big part of the celebration. The big day for Karneval is the Rose Monday parade, whereas the big Fasching parades are usually the day before, on Carnival Sunday. But according to some sources, one of Germany’s biggest carnival parades takes place in the northern German city of Braunschweig… “Schoduvel” (“scaring away the devil”), …which dates back to 1293.
Karneval begins on November 11th
Many carnival organizations traditionally begin their official activities on November 11. Then it is suspended for Advent… and reconvenes in January. It is only following the Christmas and New Year’s season that carnival preparation really gets underway.
Organizations begin planning carnival balls and building floats. If there are any events on November 11, they are brief and only serve as a mini pre-carnival. Very little related to carnival happens between November 12 and January 5. No matter the name, almost all carnival observances end at midnight on Shrove Tuesday. The next day, Ash Wednesday, is the official start of Lent, even if very few people today actually fast until Easter. Historically, the purpose of carnival was to live it up before the start of Lent and its 40 days of gustatory sacrifice.
Karneval in the United States
From GermanWay.com: “There are a few places in the USA noted for their carnival observances. The most famous, of course, is New Orleans and its big Mardi Gras. That has a lot to do with the French influence in Louisiana (which was named for the French king Louis XIV). Lafayette,
Louisiana also has its own Mardi Gras, as do Baton Rouge and several other Louisiana towns. There are good-sized carnival celebrations in Mobile, Alabama (since 1703!); Fredericksburg and Galveston, Texas; Biloxi, Mississippi and in Pensacola, Florida (dating from 1874). The Mardi Gras celebration in St. Louis, Missouri is a relatively recent development that only began in the 1980s. What began as a private party at a bar has now become a rather large event with corporate sponsors.” See STL4Stuttgart.com for more information and tickets to the highlight of the Karneval Season in St. Louis.
Join us in Bay. Tour the historic Bay Mercantile Store and meet others with the help of the very social game of Bossel on Sunday, November 5, 2017 from 12 noon to 4 pm. What is Bossel? It is played by Germans who live in the northwest of Germany at the Northern Sea. It is very popular there and the people of East Frisia dream of Bossel becoming an Olympic sport in the very distant future. The game is played on small streets with round Bossel balls. We will have four teams Red, Blue, Yellow and Black as we have four balls. The distance from start to end is about one mile. The goal is to be the team that reaches the end, with the fewest number of throws. Each throw ends and is counted from the point where the Bossel ball comes to a standstill on the street. Join one of the Bossel ball teams, all ages, sexes, incomes, and hair colors are welcome! Or simply accompany the players. German refreshments are provided during the game to protect participants, both mentally and physically, against the chill of a November day in Missouri! Warm-up after Bossel, enjoy bread & soup and an Award Ceremony for the Missourian Bossel Heroes.
Our Meeting point is the former Bay Mercantile in Bay, located on County Route K, just south of the intersection with Fowler Road. Bay is south of Hermann Missouri in the very heart of Gasconade County. Also that day you can Tour the Bay Mercantile and residence currently in the state of renovation. View numerous historical artifacts and learn more about the process of historic preservation. Google Maps for Bay Missouri
This day is planned in memory of Scott Ruffner, who passed away unexpectedly in May of this year. We will gather to celebrate what would have been his 67th birthday on November 5 in the Bay Mercantile store. It was Scott’s dream to establish a museum about Bay in the former Bay Mercantile and post office building, which he bought for this purpose. He hoped to recruit both volunteers and funding to make this a reality. This restoration project continues with support from his friends and family!
Join us in Bay.