German communities ‘burn winter’

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

On Saturday after Fasching, the community of Olsbrücken will continue a 20-year tradition and “burn winter.” The hiking club Pfälzerwaldverein will co-sponsor this annual event in the village of Olsbrücken.

Hikers interested in joining the “Fire for Spring” will meet at 6 p.m. at the Dorfplatz (village square) in Olsbrücken. The mayor will hold an opening speech and village officials will sell torches for a small fee. The torchlight procession will then proceed through the village up to the old sports field on Oberberg hill. It is about a 3-kilometer walk.

About two weeks prior to the event, members of the hiking group started putting up a 4.5-meter-high pile of wood to be burned near the sports field. Even old Christmas trees have been added to the pile.

When all walkers have arrived at the wood pile, children will throw their torches into the pile, under the supervision of the local fire department. The fire will start, and winter will be burned.

The PWV hiking group will run a hut on Oberberg hill, where food and beverages will be served. For more information, visit

Other communities in the Pfalz will say good-bye to winter with so-called summer day parades leading through the town and ending with the burning of piles or figures made of straw and wood. In the wine-growing village of Neuleiningen, the burning of winter, including a parade, will take place March 4. In Forst, Landau and Speyer, celebrations will be held March 18. In Speyer, a snowman will be burned.