Hang out the Sendschwert… there’s a fair on in Münster!

Münster has a fair three times a year. They call it the Send – which apparently is a derivation of “Synod” and originated with some rather jolly get-togethers of clerics in the 9th century.

When the Send is on, the city fathers hang out the Send Sword, or Sendschwert, on the town hall. This is a disembodied arm holding an upright sword. Apparently this is a reminder that any unruly behaviour at the fair used to be punishable by death.  So when attending the Send, I am always careful not to drop my candyfloss or park illegally. The Münster city fathers might take it personally and decide to impale me.

Sendschwert, Send Sword

A disembodied arm with sword... oh my!

The good news is that those 9th century clerics certainly knew how to party, judging by the modern day Send. Of course the risk of being impaled on the Sendschwert increases with every jug of beer…

Send Münster

Roll up! Cheap beer all week!

A German fair would not be complete without rides. And the Send specialises in the kind of rides which can only be described as absolutely freaking terrifying.  Seriously – I mean who in their right mind would go on this voluntarily? No wonder the fair is announced with the public display of severed limbs!

rollercoaster

Centrafugal stomach churner

I know you’re  thinking that after an afternoon in Bruno’s Bierdorf, it might seem like a great idea to climb onto a contraption which will spin you like an odd sock in the laundromat of life….   but the city fathers have thought of that. Readers, meet German Health and Safety.

fairground germany

Positively no drunks allowed on the ride! Or people who are short, tall, pregnant, or in possession of any other condition known to the medical profession...

Now clearly there is a disconnect here. In order to want to get on the ride you would have to be drunk to the point of near-terminal stupidity. But as soon as you are drunk, you’re not allowed on.

The fair does, however, offer plenty of less dangerous attractions which will part the stupidly drunk from their hard earned Euros. Take, for example, the mechanical grab machine where you can win one of the most psychologically disturbing cuddly toys of all time – the creepy cuddly Michael Jackson doll.

fairground grab

You could win a creepy Michael Jackson doll... the stuff of nightmares!

Suddenly being impaled by the sword-wielding disembodied long arm of the law is sounding like the most compelling attraction at the fair! Well, apart from another jug of the cheap ale, of course.

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5 Comments

Filed under About Germany, German festivals, Life in Germany

5 responses to “Hang out the Sendschwert… there’s a fair on in Münster!

  1. Thanks to my lovely eldest daughter for the photos….

  2. I enjoyed reading this and understanding the tradition of the arm & sword. I always learn so much on your blog site about my newly adopted country. Thanks yet again!

  3. Mairead

    I think 20th century clerics would also enjoy it – well the ones I know would!
    Maybe clerics (in robes), drinking on the scary looking ride….I’d like to see that!

  4. Oh dear god. I’m going to see that Michael Jackson coming to get me in my sleep.

  5. I’ve never heard about this, but it sounds like fun, as long as you’re not the one being impaled and it really goes to show just how seriously Germans take their rules!

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