I know you've all been asking yourselves, "When is Claire finally going to do some wild boar hunting?" and I finally have an answer for you: this past weekend. I visited Sarah in Marburg this weekend for her birthday, where the yearly wild boar hunt took place. This wild boar hunt wasn't exactly your traditional wild boar hunt, however. By that I mean, we weren't really hunting wild boars. Ok, I'm starting to sense your doubt, your confusion. Let me elaborate.
The Wild Boar Hunt is a game. Granted it's a game that not many people, not even Germans, know about, but it's great. A well kept secret really. Here's what happens: You get together with your friends on an evening in late fall or winter; put on your warmest, darkest clothes; fill your thermos with some hot, mulled wine; bring your garbage bags (preferably unused); and head for the woods. When it's totally dark, you head out to a predetermined section of the woods and form teams of two. All but one team heads out into the woods and finds a good hiding spot. This is the point where the garbage bags come in--they are good to lay down on. These teams are the wild boars. The last team of two is the hunter team. They wait about ten minutes and then head out into the woods, sans flashlight, and try to find the wild boars. Every five minutes, the hunters can yell "light!" and the wild boars have to shine their flashlight in the air for five seconds. When you've been caught, you head back up to the grill hut where you continue drinking warm, mulled wine and eating cookies. When everyone has been found, you start all over again.
Great fun in Germany! Great fun indeed!
Another item of great fun is one of my favorite holidays of the year, St. Nicholas! Do you guys celebrate St. Nick's? I sometimes have the feeling that this may have been some kind of German anomoly in Milwaukee, as I have met many an American and Canadian who have responded with a confused and quisicle tilt of the head when I mentioned St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas is celebrated on December 6 and it is traditional to put your shoes out at night. If you've been good, you'll awake to find treats and small presents in your shoes. If you've been, the obligatory coal is to be expected.