Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Trick or Treat... Halloween in Munich

Jacko' lantern

Some years I've been in Munich or even Berlin for Halloween; other years, in Berkeley. This year, I'm in Berkeley.  On the street where I live, we have no sidewalks, so only a handful of the local kids trick or treat. The very few littles come early, but the older kids (and parents) all go to one of the areas in Berkeley that go nuts for Halloween in a fabulous way.  There are several, although I won't name street names, to avoid totally flooding said fabulous neighborhoods. This year, we racked up an exciting 2 Trick or Treaters, for a new low. They knew they were rarities, though, and made up for it by scooping up immense amounts of mini-Butterfingers. My husband, having lent out his Count Dracula cape, visited some of the local Halloween neighborhoods as a ghost.

For the grownups in the Bay Area, there are also Halloween parties; in Bavaria, too. While Halloween isn't really a traditional German holiday, the custom has spread. In Munich, you see groups of young adults and older teens walking around, dressed in delightfully gruesome, Gothic costumes--Grim Reapers, ghouls, and the like.  No Tinkerbells, Cleopatras, or pirates, at least that I've seen. The day after, All Saints Day, Nov. 1, is a traditional religious holiday in Bavaria.  Stores, most museums, etc., are closed. Google honored All Saints, All Souls, and Dia de los Muertos with a special logo on Chrome.

Gabriel Faure
Gabriel Faure

Gabriel Faure
Because Nov. 1 was a Sunday, there was a flurry of Requiem activity at Catholic churches in the Bay Area. Oakland had a Faure Requiem; SF had Mozart, for example.  I heard the beginning of the Faure--which sounded beautiful, as it truly is a lovely work--but sadly was driven away by the heavy incense by the middle of the Introit.  Mozart's Requiem is on my bucket list of pieces I want to sing: I've had several near misses as the soloist but it's still sitting there in the bucket and on the list... Someday, hopefully!  And related to that, at today's lecture recital, we came very close to performing "Allerseelen" (not the ravishing Strauss setting, but rather David Garner's brilliant setting of Mascha Kaleko's "Allerseelen" poem) on All Soul's Day (today, Nov. 2), but time ran out before we got to it... Pity, but it was a wonderful lecture-recital, with very engaging, intelligent questions at the end.

What about Halloween or All Saints Eve customs in other countries or other parts of the world? Comment if you're so inclined!

What I'm reading: The Lady from Zagreb; And Tango Makes Three; A Dirty Job

What I'm listening to: Bach's Magnificat; Faure Requiem; songs by David Garner

What I'm working on: songs by Bartok, Ruehr, Schwendinger, and Vandor for Nov. 8 at the PJCC in Foster City.  Related to that, the JWeekly published a wonderfully supportive article  by Dan Pine about us (E4TT and JMPP) on Oct. 30.  Check it out if you haven't seen it already!

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