Ever since 1990 on the Saturday after Fasching, the community of Olsbruecken observes a special tradition: the burning of winter. The hiking club Pfaelzerwaldverein will co-sponsor this annual event and offer celebrations at their forest hut.
Hikers interested in joining the “Fire for Spring” will meet at 6 p.m. at the Dorfplatz, village square in Olsbruecken.
“Our mayor will hold an opening speech and village officials will sell torches for a small fee,” said Ronny Faul, chairman of the PWV hiking club Olsbruecken. “We then walk in a torchlight procession through the village up to the old sports field on Oberberg hill.”
The walk is about 3 km long and takes about 35 minutes.
Two to three weeks prior to the event, members of the hiking group started putting up a 4.5-meter-high pile of wood to be burnt near the sports field. Even old Christmas trees have been added to the pile.
“Local firefighters usually collect the Christmas trees the Saturday after Three Kings Day Jan. 6,” said Lutz Braunschweig, member of the Olsbruecken voluntary fire department. “Olsbruecken residents donate €1 or more for this service, and donations will go back to charity.”
When all walkers have arrived at the pile, children will throw their torches into the pile, under the supervision of the local firemen. The fire will start, and winter will be burnt.
“Our PWV hiking group runs a hut on Oberberg hill, where we serve food and something to drink,” Faul said. “Like in previous years, we expect about 500 to 600 visitors.”
For more information, visit www.pwv-olsbruecken.de.
Other communities in the Pfalz will say goodbye to winter with so-called summer day parades leading through the town, ending with the burning of piles or figures made of straw and wood. The wine-growing communities of Neuleiningen and Forst as well as the cities Landau and Speyer will hold their winter burning celebrations March 6. Gruenstadt will burn winter after its summer day parade, which starts at 2 p.m. March 13.