Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Easter-Wheel-Run in Luegde

On Easter Sunday Evening, in Luegde (North Rhine-Westphalia) burning oak wheels are rolled down a hillside outside the historic city centre. It is not the wood of the wheels that catches fire, but the straw the wheels are stuffed with. The oak wheels are being watered in the river Emmer bevor Easter Sunday. Spectators already participate in the process of watering the wheels and pulling them out again. At nightfall, the wheels are set on fire one after the other and rolled down the hillside. Knowledge and skills to prepare the wheels are passed down from generation to generation.

Facts & figures

  • Crucial date: Easter Sunday Evening
  • Inscription: 2018
  • Domains: traditional craftsmanship; social practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe
  • Where to find: Luegde

Contact

Dieter Stumpe
info@osterraederlauf.de

The Easter-Wheel-Run is a central event for the inhabitants of Luegde, which calls itself the “City of Easter Wheels”. The tradition requires the mastery of a variety of specific techniques that are passed on. To prevent the wheels from burning they are being watered for five days in the river “Emmer”, which is flowing through Luegde. Concerning the straw the custom requires rye that is cultivated especially for this very tradition. Afterwards, the straw is woven into the wheels. These steps, namely the cultivation, harvesting and processing of the straw, are parts of the custom.

A broad audience participates in the process of watering the wheels in the Emmer. Easter Sunday is the official prelude to the Easter-Wheel-Run. Starting off with a concert of the marching band, the wheels, mounted on horse-drawn wagons, are presented to the city’s inhabitants and visitors. The wheels are then transported to the Osterberg where they are stuffed with straw. Cannon shots resound once a wheel is entirely prepared. At nightfall, the wheels are set on fire one after the other and rolled down the hillside. Every wheel that reaches the run-off area at the foot of the hill is appreciated by the audience with a loud shout. A firework concludes the event.

Publication

Wissen. Können. Weitergeben..
Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission, 2019

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