Once more, this past New Year’s Eve, we laufed throughout the city – a group of about nine monsters of various, mostly traditional types (including our very first Schnabelpercht!). Our route was even longer this year, winding through the artsy district, past bars and cafes, over to the higher-end shops and hotels, and then into the heart of downtown. We howled, we whistled, we drummed, we rang many bells, we stopped periodically to shout a chant and blow the hunting horn.
We encountered the usual Eugene weirdness – like a girl who stopped us to hand out sticks of lit incense (making our journey fragrant as well as noisy), and to my own personal delight, someone who recognized us as the Perchtenlauf!
Unlike previous years, this time we had a friend along to photograph us, so there are many more pictures, along with a few of a more surreal type taken with a waterproof camera by one of our troupe.
My costume was a wildermann type this year. I sewed scraps of fur and leather together into a sort of short cloak. My mask was a single piece of very curly black sheepskin with eyeholes. My hat (which is hard to see in the photos) was a peaked piece of brown felt with forest debris around the edges. Cedar branches were tied around my legs. I carried a staff with bells (the same staff I used in some of my earliest geros-type mumming), and the hunting horn.
Here are a few other portraits of some of our mummers:
It was forecast to rain all night (rain being the usual winter weather in Eugene, although we have been lucky in the past), but after some very heartfelt prayers and offerings to Perchta and other winter goddesses, we were granted a reprieve just long enough for our 2+ mile procession. By the time we reached our final stop downtown, it had just begun to rain lightly, before unleashing a downpour.
There is something deeply satisfying about performing these traditions, linked as we are with all the mummers down through the years, the centuries….across continents…. beyond language….. THIS is how we drive the dark away!
I leave you with this final image – monsters on the move, through the liminal spaces of the city, like spectres in the night….