Herb consecration - an old tradition of the church


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Herb consecration - an old tradition of the church: herbal

Strung up, the elaborate herb bouquets present themselves to the spectators and jurors.

The contemplative Black Forest town of Gengenbach celebrates herbal consecration with beautiful, artfully bound herbal tufts. From the church blessing of the herb tufts one promised in former times protection against illness, fire and thunderstorm.

Herb tuft church

At least seven herbs must contain a tuft

Accompanied by admiring glances, huge herb bouquets pass through the central aisle of the parish church of St. Mary in the direction of the altar, supported by strong shoulders. The otherwise rather handy size of the herb clumps has grown in Gengenbach over the years considerable proportions, which has spread far beyond the city limits. Assumption of the Virgin Mary, one of the oldest traditional festivals in the church, is a feast for the senses - centering on the herbal tufts arranged in the classical Biedermeier style, which often reach a diameter of 1 to 1.5 m and 25 to 30, not infrequently Weigh 40 kilos and more.

Herb bouquets herb consecration

Imposing herb tufts are not for delicate women's shoulders. The Biedermeier-style giant bouquets with a diameter of one meter and more can weigh up to one hundredweight

Initially, the spicy aroma is perceived only vaguely, but already at the beginning of the service, the entire church is filled with the wonderful scent of healing wild and garden herbs. The lovingly crafted works of art in the sanctuary are presented and blessed on special wooden frames. Although the tradition of herb consecration knows regional differences, the number of herbs used is always the same. At least seven herbs must contain a tuft. Also common are 12, 14, 24, 72 and 99 - numbers that are partly rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition, but also in the symbolism of pre-Christian cultures and have their own meaning.

Herbal consecration Rathaus

Excited, the children are watching the award in front of the town hall

There are also exact ideas when choosing herbs. Mainly native medicinal plants and well-known garden herbs are used. So that color comes into the bouquet, in Gengenbach also roses, sunflowers, Artichockenbl├╝ten, rose hips and dahlias are to choose from. For Gisela Wussler, who has been tying herbal tufts for years, the preparations begin long before the Assumption. Like many other herb tuft binders in Gengenbach and the surrounding communities, she knows the best spots for wild peppermint, tansy, goldenrod and chamomile within a radius of several kilometers. Before the second mowing she is on the way, taking notes about certain occurrences of meadow flowers and imagining the color composition of the herb tuft.

Herbal consecration Rathaus

Excited, the children are watching the award in front of the town hall

But what use sophisticated plans and good local knowledge, if the farmer mowed the meadow shortly before August 15? "That can happen," she says. "That's why I always have several places to choose from." Her favorite herbs include wild peppermint and wormwood, "because they also smell wonderfully dried". Less pleasant are her memories of the rue (Ruta graveolens). "As a child I always had redness and blisters on my neck from the tufts of herbs. Until we came to the conclusion that the vine has a phototoxic effect on contact and in combination with sunlight. "Gisela Wu├čler starts gathering herbs several days before the Assumption. Before binding all herbs are sorted and "prepared", that is, all lower leaves must be streaked by the stems. Luckily, her niece Marissa helps regularly.

Herbal condiment herbal bouquets

The colors and scents spread a unique atmosphere

The centerpiece of each herbal tuft is the flower in the middle. She decides on success or failure in binding. If the stem is too soft, it will be squeezed at the usual tight binding for Biedermeier bouquets and will break off in the worst case. A nightmare for all herbal tufts
Binderinnen, especially when the bouquet is already half finished. As painful as these things are, they are so important for their own experience, because those who want to successfully complete the binding marathon of around ten hours - that's about as long as it takes to bind a herbal tuft with a diameter of around one meter - need it Patience a proven binding technique, without tricks and aids.

Finally, in the after-worship award ceremony, not only are the size of the bouquet, the number of plants used, and the arrangement of the flowers and leaves as flat as possible, but also the binding technique and the binding material. Only natural products such as string and cords are allowed. In addition to the coveted prizes, the winners will be greeted by the spectators and, not infrequently, by the first herbal tuft orders for herbal consecration next year.

Herb consecration - an old tradition of the church: tradition

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Herb consecration - an old tradition of the church: herbal

Each herb tuft starts with the center flower. In order to prevent the stem from breaking off, Gisela Wu├čler surrounds her with a wreath of soft herbs. B. parsley or lady's mantle

Herb consecration - an old tradition of the church: herb

Row by row, the individual herb stems are created straight and not obliquely as in a classic bouquet and repeatedly fixed with string

Herb consecration - an old tradition of the church: herbal

The tuft is upside down to keep the surface evenly smooth. In addition, Gisela Wussler cuts the stems to save weight and achieve the desired cone shape

Herb consecration - an old tradition of the church: herbal

While she initially creates the creation and binding of the herbs while playing alone, at some point one's own hands are no longer enough

Herb consecration - an old tradition of the church: herb

She gets energetic support from an acquaintance who captures the increasingly extensive bouquet while the work of art gets the finishing touch

Herb consecration - an old tradition of the church: herbs

Herb consecration - an old tradition of the church: herb

Herb consecration - an old tradition of the church: herbs

Herb consecration - an old tradition of the church: herbal

Herb consecration - an old tradition of the church: herbs

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