PARADE OF SPIRITS OFFICIAL POST
REMARKS ON 2023 (Including a few "rules" and expectations):
This will be posted in multiple places. Please do read.
Our event is shaping up to be off the hook this year! Our new blog provides the back story that has been the functional basis of the Parade and much of the mythology that is depicted emerges from Pennsylvania Dutch folklore and tradition. Similar "shadow side" concepts exist in cultures around the world, and we invite people to share their depictions of their liminal beings.
This is an inclusive event. No racist or bigoted expressions will be tolerated. Although, in the past, the Pennsylvania Dutch traditions were to color the face of certain characters in coal or black makeup to represent entry to homes through chimneys, this is not acceptable given the history of blackface in other, racism-based contexts as an oppressive or mocking tool. This event is about celebrating our diversity in our shared space, so Gedreier Eckhart wears gray, green, and gold makeup to represent the goddess Holle keeping him active in Her service, though he has been dead for 1,400 years.
The lines between "cultural appreciation" and "cultural appropriation" are not always easy, but the rule of thumb is that it crosses the line when, according to cultural theorist George Lipsitz, "an element of culture is adopted from a marginalized group without respect for its cultural meaning or significance or with the purpose of exploiting the culture for economic or social gain"; please see the linked article for an analysis. This has never been a problem at our prior events, and we thank everyone advance for maintaining the welcoming atmosphere of the Parade of Spirits.
Costumes should be geared toward the spooky and the frightening, but please do not purposely frighten young children. The Parade provides an opportunity to teach them that the shadowy and spooky should be approached with caution and assessment rather than by panic. This is a family-friendly event (so, please help us keep it classy), and, particularly prior to step-off at sunset, please (with appropriate covid measures in place) spend time admiring the costumes and the make-up of your fellow participants. Talk to people you have never met before along with your friends.
While on the 'Schtrutz, make noise! Whooping, yodeling, singing Krampus carols, whatever, but keep the spirit of the Parade light.
As the Germanic psychopomp, Gedreier Eckhart, implies in Pennsylvania Dutch folklore, the Parade of Spirits is, for the dead, a celebration of life. They make a joyful ruckus as they make their way to Holle's Mill to be ripped and ground apart to release the divine portion that will go on to a new life in a new, unique, and precious soul construct. These darkest days before Yule represent the time between lives, which, to those who consider rebirth, is just as baffling as trying to fathom what happens after death. It is within the mysteries of time and space between life and death, between darkness and light, and between the physical and the ethereal that the liminal deities and beings do their work.
During this Parade, we are all liminal beings. We are ourselves, yet not quite the same as we are on an average day. Step into to the thresholds between the conscious and the unconscious minds and (figuratively, please) between life and death.
After we return to Liberty Lands, please hang out at the bonfire (please at least bring a mask, even if you don't need to wear it. As the omicron variant is spreading, we want to keep this event as safe as possible so that we won't have to reduce the Parade like we did in 2020. It's better to have the mask when in close proximity to others than not to have it and then to find you need it.
Be sure to enjoy the spectacle of Lorenda and Aly and their fire performance. Have your pictures taken with old friends or new friends. Have fun!
Please remember that the Urglaawe community is conducting the Yuletide Sock (and Underwear!) Drive for area shelters. All donated clothing items must be new and unworn. During the distribution of the 2022 donations in early 2023, 1,500 pairs of socks were directly handed out to people in need, and many of them expressed gratitude to the community for its support. Donate only if you can afford to do so without causing a strain to yourself.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Der Geischderschtrutz -- The Parade of Spirits! Have a blast, and help others to find joy, even in the gloomiest of nights!