On the first Sunday of Lent, Germans throughout the Rhön region light Hutzelfeuer, which symbolize the wish for an end to the winter. Villages contribute their old Christmas trees and other waste and come together for bonfires, where adults can be found drinking beer (or, in my case, warm orange juice) and children light small torches.
I was happy to experience a Hutzelfeuer in one of the neighboring villages with my host mom, which you can see a photo of above. Each region in Germany has its own special quirks, which are always a delight to discover. In school today I said I was thirsty, being sure to pronounce “Durst” as I’ve heard some in this region do (pronouncing “-st” as “-sht”). I got some chuckles from my classmates and my teacher jokingly told me, “You’re one of us now!”
As my host family says, I’ve been “eingehessischt.” I couldn’t be prouder.