Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Wunsiedel’s Fountain Festival
The city of Wunsiedel in Upper Franconia (Bavaria) annually celebrates a fountain festival on the Saturday before Saint John’s Eve. Basis of the festival is a legend, which says that after a drought in the 18th century the people of Wunsiedel decorated their fountains with flowers and arnica wreaths. This revived the fountains. The festival is provable since 1833. Today, on the day of the fountain festival, many visitors admire the 35 decorated fountains of the town. Wandering musicians provide for a musical frame.
Facts & figures
Crucial date: weekend before Johanni (in June)
Domains: practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practice concerning nature and the universe; forms of social self-organization
Where to find: Wunsiedel (Bavaria)
35 so-called “fountain-communities” are responsible for decorating the fountains. These communities can be local associations, citizens, companies or other interested people. Also kindergartens and youth centers form fountain-communities. This spreads the joy of the tradition among new generations at an early stage.
The fountain-communities meet for preparations, finding motives, making accessories, plucking flowers and finally for decorating the fountains. Some of them are also dedicated to other matters. Fountain-communities don’t have a president and if members disagree on a topic, they vote democratically.
The fountain festival and especially the fountain-communities add to the identity of all participants and contribute to the community awareness of Wunsiedel’s citizens. During preparation and implementation of the fountain festival, friendships emerge between members of a fountain-community, which last past the fountain festival itself.