Land Rheinland-Pfalz Local Custom Tips by Trekki Top 5 Page for this destination
Land Rheinland-Pfalz Local Customs: 32 reviews and 55 photos
Plain and simple - isn't it?
Palatinate language is a dialect, which is being spoken in Palatinate region and in the so-called Kurpfalz, the region between Landau, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Speyer, Bruchsal and up to Worms. Wikipedia defines it as a western Franconian dialect. It is widely spoken in the region and it is very straightforward, plain and simple in a way. When High German would need many words to express something, Palatinate dialect might only need one word. Or, in contrast to this it would use a very descriptive wording but then use more words than High German would use. Complicated? Not at all :-)
An excellent example for the dialect is this sign. It is at the western entrance of Hainfeld (German Wine Route), a sign for the wine pub of vinery Koch and signifies the opening time of the pub. In High German it would simply say “Offen” (= open). In Palatinate it says “... wann’s Licht brennt isch uff”. Translated into High German it would be “Wenn das Licht brennt, ist offen”, or in English “if the light is on, we are open”. Plain and simple and very descriptive, isn’t it?
The second photo is about church service. It simply says "Am Sunndach es Kersch", which in High German means "Am Sonntag is Kirche" - church service on Sunday :-)
I was fascinated to read (and hear) that the dialect has obviously made it across to USA. Palatinate emigrants settled in Pennsylvania and have kept the dialect. It is known as Pennsylvanian Dutch, “Dutch” seemingly being a variation of “Deutsch”, so it has nothing to do with Dutch. I even found two videos on youtube: a spoken language lesson and a man who teaches Pennsylvanian Dutch.
We have a comedian called Chako, who is famous for cultivating the dialect. On youtube I found a funny video where he talks about Kurpfalz, in a mixture of Palatinate and “English”, very funny!
And I also found another set of youtube videos which made me almost collaps on my keyboard: Daarth Vader in Palatinate dialect. It is in “German”, but fun to listen to even if one doesn’t speak German. Only Daarth Vader speaks it.
For more information about the dialect and how it is spoken, University of Porthsmouth has a section about the dialect with many links.
Last but not least, but more for me to remember and link this: the famous pastor Otmar Fischer from Palatinate village Weisenheim am Sand, with his mass, celebrated in Palatinate dialect. The locals know him as "de Parre mit de Peif in de Kärsch" (High German: Der Pfarrer mit der Pfeife in der Kirche, in English: the pastor with the pipe in the church).
© Ingrid D., September 2012.
Loverly rose bush in the vineyards
Originally I had planned to write a different story about the roses than I do now. It was one of these typical cases of learning by asking. In a book I have read about the roses which are planted by the vintners at the beginning of each vine to have an early indication of the dangerous mildew. Roses are said to get infested with this disease quickly so that the vintners can react quicker to protect their valuable vines. I also remember the many roses in the vineyards from my childhood in Palatinate. So on a recent visit I went to look for the roses and was a bit confused to see not that many as I had expected. Only one big rose tree was decorating the vineyards I walked through. Then I asked a vintner who was working in his vines and he told me that the roses had been used in the past as an indicator but no more in the modern world. Instead, other biological methods are applied, among them dandelion which is said to partly prevent from mildew.
And what did I learn from all that? The sole purpose of rose trees in the vineyards are decoration. And if you want to pick a rose, just do it.
(I still hope that this is true for all vineyards, but on the other hand it makes sense: if mildew is developing in the middle of a vineyard, roses at the end cannot indicate the infection).
© Ingrid D., July 2009 (just in case, RS or others come along and think they can steal texts).
Römer, typical wine glass of Rhein Valley
It is often fascinating how childhood memories stick in your brain almost forever. From the many trips my parents took me along Rhein valley region I remember these glasses very well. They were very popular when I grew up and my parents still have several of these at home, bought at the towns we visited. These days I loved the ones with the little Rhinestone decorations (like the one in the front of my photo). But when I grew up, I considered them as kitsch. However, since I am coming back to this region quite often I realised that they belong to this part of Germany like the wine. The name is a bit misleading: Römer could translate into Romans and I always thought that this is what it stands for. Eventually it was the Romans who brought wine to this part of Germany. But… thanks to “www” I now know that the name derives from Dutch word roemen, which means something like praising. In contrast to the Dubbeglas (see above) which is Palatinate’s wine glass and holds 0,5 litre, Römer glasses only hold 0,1 litre. But… I don’t know why at this very moment. The typical Römer glasses have a dark green base and corrugated stem and the cuppa is either etched or painted or even gold-plated (in the past with real gold, now maybe with a replacement paint). Some have these Rhinestone decorations and now… almost half a century on this planet I must say that I really like them. They make a nice souvenir, although be careful to choose where you buy them because I am almost sure that several souvenir shops sell cheap Chinese crap instead of the real ones. Rüdesheim has a museum which explains all about wine history, so they should mention which Rheinland manufacturer still produces these. I will update this as soon as I have found out.
Roemer wine glass (Wikipedia).
© Ingrid D., June 2009 (just in case, RS or others come along and think they can steal texts).
Frankenthal - just a house
As I grew up in Palatinate, pink sandstone houses were a normal sight for me. And of course, I also learned at school in our local history lessons that half of the Palatine is forest on top of pink sandstone cliffs and rock formations. Only when I moved away (at the age of 13) I realised that not all houses in Germany are using this building material for parts of the house walls and I started to miss it. Now this might sound a bit stupid, but if you only see boring (German) houses without any coloured decoration, you might understand why.
Later, when I came back more often to Palatine, I felt this lightness and happiness again when I was driving or walking around all these pink sandstone buildings. It still sounds strange, but it is part of my childhood.
Pink sandstone is abundant in the Palatine Forest, and I have read that despite it being soft and submitted to erosion, the (as they would call it in German) “middle” pink sandstone (layer) is quite hard and not that easily erodable. So that’s the reason for it’s vast use for the houses.
My photos reflect these pinkish dots here and there pretty well (I think). The first two have been taken in Frankenthal (where I grew up), and the others are houses in one of these typical little streets in Maikammer, south of Neustadt.
© Ingrid D., November 2007 (just in case, RS or others come along and think they can steal texts).
Wherever you go wine tasting on the planet, you will get glasses with a capacity of 0,1 or 0,2 litres.
But - not so in Palatine ! As for many other things in life, Palatiners have their own way, their own definitions and of course, their own scale unit. Here, if you try wine, you will almost only get a Schoppe. Schoppe is the Palatine word for pint, or 0,5 litres of the magic liquid. And to make it more special, there are special glasses in which the wine is served. They are conical in shape and have little dents dotted all over the glass. This makes it easy to hold the glass, very important after having sampled already some of their content, lol. The glass of course has also a special name, it is called Dubbeglas. Dubbe is Palatine for dots and of course, having half a litre of wine in this special glass would be a Dubbeschoppe.
You better learn these words if you intend to visit the Palatine region, as you might need to use them quite often. But careful, don’t break your tongue when you try and practice the pronounciation :-)
pronounce it like “shop”, with a tiny aspirated “e” at the end, like in “the” (but the “the” of British pronounciation).
(hm, I need to find out how to explain the pronounciation).
© Ingrid D., November 2007 (just in case, RS or others come along and think they can steal texts).
Some might already have wondered what the subtitle of my Rheinland-Palatinate page means: Woi, Weck un’ Worscht. This is, well, another local term which is very much Palatine and stands for wine (Woi in local dialect), bread roll (Weck in local dialect) and sausage (Worscht in local dialect) and is considered to be the only food, Palatiners really need to survive. Now it might sound not actually appropriate to have sausage with the wine – maybe France would start screaming, as cheese sounds better. But I can assure you that it goes along very well, and remember that Palatiners are experts for any kind of “Worscht”. It is often pork, but they have ways of making the best pork sausages I ever tasted – and this says a lover of usually thick bloody (beef) steak(and not necessarily sausage).
So remember when you are strolling through the picturesque villages and your stomach tells you it is time to grab some food: try this combination of wine, bread and sausage – Palatiners know why and you will soon also learn the secret.
© Ingrid D., November 2007.
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