The rounds of the night watchman
He’s holding a halberd in one hand and a lantern in the other, wears a three-cornered hat, and a horn around his neck. In his period costume, he seems to have stepped straight out of a time machine.
Should we get going? Not yet! The watchman also sings! An Alsatian melody that was used to tell the time and wish the residents a good night. This melody will be the soundtrack for the entire visit.
Here are the lyrics so you can get ready to sing with the night watchman: Horricha was ich eich wel saja Dia Glock het tzeni gschlaja ! Han sori zu Fir und Liacht Dass uns Gott un Maria b’hiet ! Jetz stand ich auf d’r Wacht Gott gebt uns alle’ a guetti Nacht He'll translate the song and explain it all. There’s more to learn on a one-hour visit with the Turckheim night watchman than what you’ll find in a history book!
Dive into history
In the olden days, the night watchman protected the inhabitants from fires. He inspected all the chimneys and peered through the windows to check the dancing candle flames. But let's hear it straight from the watchman as we walk through the medieval streets of Turckheim.
The first night watchmen date back to 1540, and their job disappeared in 1939 before the custom was reintroduced in 1953. The watchman shares plenty of humorous anecdotes along the way!
Hats off to the volunteers who take turns playing the role of an authentic night watchman. We can see why this custom was recognised with a Grand Bretzel d'Or in 2012 by the Alsatian institute of folk art and traditions!
- The night watchman opens the first window of the Advent calendar in the heart of the Christmas market on the Place de la Mairie. Don't miss this event held on 1 December at 5 p.m.
- On 24 December, the round ends with the ancestral song that the watchmen would sing as a family to present their wishes to the authorities and the residents.
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