Gansabhauet

Gansabhauet

November 11
Gansabhauet is an old and peculiar festival involving a dead goose, held only in the country town of Sursee, Lucerne Canton, Switzerland, on St. Martin's Day ( see Martinmas). A dead goose is hung by its neck in front of the town hall, and young men draw lots to take turns trying to knock it down with a blunt saber. ( Gansabhauet means "knocking down goose.")
The young men, blindfolded and wearing red robes and big round masks representing the sun, get only one try at the bird. While the men whack at the goose, children's games take place: they scale a stripped tree, race in sacks, and compete in seeing who can make the ugliest face.
Gansabhauet was first mentioned in 1821. Its real origin is uncertain, although it is thought that it may have something to do with the old practice of handing over payment in kind to the landlord.
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