Germany: Burghausen Castle BurgFest

Travel Period : 12th July 2013

Location: Bavaria State (German: Bayern)

[ 100th Year Fest ]

This year 2014, there will be no castle festival at the castle of Burghausen and the concerts at the castle cannot take place. This is due to extensive bridge rehabilitation measures. Castle manager Heinz Thunder is confident, however, that at least the castle Christmas 2014 can be celebrated as usual at the castle.

We were fortunate to stay in a hotel close to Burghausen Castle and visited it often during our 6-weeks stay there. Adding to this, we happened to have a wonderful opportunity to visit the Burg Festival, a festival where the natives dressed-up in medieval costumes, actors and actresses reenact the surroundings and play out scenes that happened in historical times. It happens over a three day period from 11-13th July so it is a huge event with many participants.

2013 was the 100th year of Burg Festival and we couldn’t miss it even though we had last-minute packing to do before we leave the next day.

The magical walk to the castle started with seeing a man pushing a barrel cart dressed in a medieval costume. We got excited and followed behind him, wondering what we would see.

Passing by the usual forest path, there were huge tents set up with armory. It felt like we were transported into historic times!

Soon, we arrived at the entrance and bought our tickets to go in. Many people around us were dressed in period costumes but we were also glad many were in casual dress like us. According to a friend, the price would be discounted if one dressed in medieval but this year, they took away this rule due to the large influx of visitors.

Right at the entrance, there was a small wooden ferris wheel for kids to sit in for a small fee. There were also several games spread throughout the entrance area such as archery, throwing games and even a puppet theatre.

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We kept walking and taking in the sights as there were so many things to see. Both sides of the walking path in Burghausen Castle were lined with tents and fenced. People inside were performing their activity as if they were really living in the medieval times, oblivious to us modern people.

As we didn’t understand the language, we wondered whether they were selling their cooked food or just cooking for their own dinner later. The aroma arising from the food made us feel hungry but we didn’t know how to ask.

There was a wild boar fastened on a pole which caught our attention but on closer inspection, it was fake. Everyone who walked past took a second look with a smile on their face.

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A particular tent also attracted a lot of attention as it was a historical ‘bath house’. When we walked past, two men were sitting inside the bathtub with two women attending to them outside. We started wondering whether they were truly bathing. It sure look comfy.

When we walked back later, the women were no longer outside but sitting inside with the men, revealing only their shoulders. It looked quite scandalous and all of us standing there must be wondering the same thing. Are they wearing anything? I laughed when discussing with Vin.

Finally, someone broke our curiosity by asking them to ‘stand up’, cheering them. To my surprise, one pretty lady stood up and showed her naked back and shook her butt! Okay, she’s naked. My eyes almost popped out. O_O  Just when I thought that was quite daring, someone beside us shouted at them again and this time, she stood up with her naked front, did a little dance and quickly sat back. The men all cheered and jeered. >_< Fortunately, my little boy Dar’s attention was elsewhere and didn’t see it…I quickly moved on with Vin and Dar in case she does a free show again.

[Medieval Accessories Sold]

There were wooden swords and shield sold so children could dress up as a knight.We couldn’t resist buying a nice decorated shield to bring home and bought Dar a small wooden sword.

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The owner helped to tie it to Dar’s waist so he was walking around with it half-pretending to be a knight. We didn’t know how the event was like or we would have dressed him up more appropriately. (It was quite warm so we were in shorts and tees.)

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For adults, there were leather smith and blacksmith selling leather shoes, belts and metal accessories. If you didn’t know about the dressing, there was still time for dress-up as you could purchase a period costume immediately from one of the stalls.

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[Food]

We were getting hungrier by the minute so we went to check out the food stalls further down. A concert was on and the music added to the atmosphere. Grilled fish, sausages, large cups of German beer and interesting snacks. The area was quite crowded too so we gave up buying the food. It wouldn’t be comfortable to sit.

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[Historical ReEnactment]

“Historical reenactment is a educational or entertainment activity in which people follow a plan to recreate aspects of a historical event or period. “

Besides the reenactment of historic times, we were in time to witness a procession for a wedding. I’m not too sure whether it was the ‘Landshut Wedding’ but it is the most reenacted event of the marriage of Duke Georg der Reiche of Bavaria to a Polish Princess. I read that events were celebrated usually at Landshut so I was quite surprised to see them here.

It was interesting to us to watch this cultural performance and we followed them to the main castle entrance where they stopped at the bridge for some photo-taking.

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After this, we felt we had seen enough and left early, satisfied with the participation in a local festival. It was an eye-opener for us.

Definitely worth a visit to the festival if one is going to Burghausen in mid-July.

Read ‘Medieval Reenactment’ on Wikipedia for more information:

The goal of the reenactor and their group is to portray an accurate interpretation of a person who credibly could exist at a specific place at a specific point in time while at the same time remaining approachable to the public. Examples of living history activities include authentic camping, cooking, practicing historical skills and trades, and playing historical musical instruments or board games.

Next Post: Burghausen Old Town