Since the Middle Ages, German craftsmen have gone 'auf der Walz'
(taken to the road) as part of a kind of working-pilgrimage that artisans make after completing an apprenticeship with a master craftsman. These travels are meant to teach them about work and life and takes precisely three years and one day; they are not allowed to return home before this time. The trip can take these young craftsmen and women (all must be under the age of 30) halfway around the world (and often does
) and they are allowed only a small rucksack. Other than that, they can bring along their uniform (a simple black and white affair that almost defies description
), their tools, undergarments, a sleeping bag, a book and their trademark walking stick.
Although today this is a dying tradition, and is often more traditionally known as being a Journeyman
today, it still exists and has inspired some to write about the strage travellers they see on the road
. Indeed, perhaps the most famous work this tradition inspired is Australian poet Banjo Patterson
, whose work Walzing Matilda
is believed to have been inspired
by this fascinating yet waning custom.
posted by Effigy2000
on Dec 14, 2006 -