Meistertrunk Pageant

Meistertrunk Pageant (Master Draught Pageant)

Between May 8 and June 11; Pentecost
This celebration in the medieval town of Rothenburg-on-the-Tauber, Germany, commemorates a gargantuan drinking feat in 1631. The pageant is staged for four days ending on Whit-Monday, and the play itself, Meistertrunk, is also performed on various occasions during the summer. The best known of the Bavarian history plays, Meistertrunk dramatizes a chronicled event of the Thirty Years' War: the town was threatened with destruction by Imperial troops led by the famed general, Johann Tserclaes Tilly. The general saw the state wine beaker and decided to play a game with the town's life at stake. If a council member could drink off the entire beaker of wine—about a gallon—in one draught, Tilly promised to spare the town. Burgomaster George Nusch accepted the challenge and emptied the beaker in one mighty gulp and the town was saved.
The play is performed out of doors with the entire town a stage. Tilly's troops are camped outside the city walls, and in the market square costumed children plead with the general. The same beaker that Nusch drained in 1631 is used in the reenactment.
A parade precedes the play, and the "Shepherds' Dance" is performed after it in the market square. The dance, dating to 1516, is in honor of St. Wolfgang, the patron saint of shepherds, and recalls the time a member of the shepherds' guild raced from his pastures to warn the city of the approach of an enemy.
Meistertrunk Managing Committee
Jagerstrasse 4
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, 91541 Germany
49-9861-529-2; fax: 49-9861-876-65
Shepherd's Dance Exhibition at Rothenburg
FestWestEur-1958, p. 66
GdWrldFest-1985, p. 87
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
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