Perchtenlauf, Eugene, Oregon, New Year’s Eve 2021

the usual suspects

Once more we gathered on New Year’s Eve to chase away the spirits of darkness and winter and welcome in a fresh start – surely we need that more than ever nowadays!

This year we started with a little impromptu monster tailgating in a parking lot near our start point. There was hot mulled wine from thermoses, served in fancy disposable cups out of the trunk of our leader’s car. Of course, imbibing through monster masks can present some difficulties – especially through the beak of our schnabelperchten!

Thus fortified, we began at one of the local breweries, which had an extensive outdoor dining area enclosed in plastic walls, with a band playing. We barged in and marched through with much bell-clanging and hollering, eliciting enthusiastic cheers from those seated within. Encouraged by this reception, we ended up making the rounds of several restaurants and bars along our route (except for one where we were stopped at the patio entrance by a bouncer asking for IDs – monsters don’t carry identification!).

This year’s route was probably the longest we’ve ever done, at least 3 miles total from start to finish (plus a long walk back to the beginning for some of us who parked our cars there). But we did a good job of keeping the energy up, and it helped to occasionally be bombarded with excited honking from passing cars!

We may have also invaded a very swanky hotel lobby and been chased out by security guards, but laufing has always had a transgressive aspect to it. Up with monsters!

This time my costume was a sort of “greatest hits” of previous years, all pieces I had worn before but not all together in this combination. I was really feeling my mumming persona that night – I found myself walking differently, feeling more confrontational than usual (I may have chased a few partygoers, and cars…). This is the wonderful catharsis of guising that frees us from ourselves and from societal restrictions.

By the end of the night, I felt we had truly driven the dark away!


4 thoughts on “Perchtenlauf, Eugene, Oregon, New Year’s Eve 2021

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