Sunday, September 21, 2008

From Sheep to Cows to Pigs with Lipstick!

Sorry, I couldn't resist the title, since at the moment I left Cedar Rapids, McCain and Palin were campaigning at the airport. Proof!
I arrived in Austria early expressly to see the Almabtrieb in Donnersbach. This a festival in which the shepherds (or in this case cowherds) drive the cows from the mountain pastures where they have spent the summer months into the valleys where they will shelter for the winter. The cattle are decorated with flowers and ribbons and bells and mirrors to ward off evil.

The festival is not at all kitschy as you might expect. There's a wonderful brass band, and really good food--just clean, wholesome fun. Well, not so clean actually... they are cows after all! And the Stiertreiber runs around covered in "pitch" (actually a mixture of cold cream and soot) and hugs all the women leaving black marks on their cheeks. You've been reading this blog long enough... Are you really going to be surprised when I tell you that this is supposed to be a fertility ritual?You can see more pictures from last year's festival under September 2007 in the Archives.


marilyn said...

I love the cows! Look like they are hogging the stage in a beauty contest!
Hey, when you and I get rich from our writing, we can tour together in a plane with Joey and Marilyn written in huge letters--even in latin, Joey et Marilyn, m

LadyKate said...

Hey Joey!

I was thinking about you the other day. It must've been because you were flying back to Austria. I thought you had more time before you headed back. Sorry I didn't get in another call. See you on Skype, then, and let me know when you're heading back across the pond.


PS-I like Marilyn's idea...can I tag along?

Caitlin said...

I can't believe there is McCain - Palin jet! And it's ENORMOUS!!! Hahaha, Palin got busted yesterday, and so far it looks like it is negatively affecting the polls (or just liberal media propaganda??) The Donnersback Festival looks adorable! Ich liebe die Obersteiermark!