“Schützen” (Marksmen)

The village gets decorated by banner committees, Gehrden.

Brass band, Wunstorf.

Preparation for the „Böllerschuß“ opening shot, Braunschweig.

According to a Bavarian tradition tribute to a member gets payed by a loud
shot in the front garden, Braunschweig.

Eagel shooting, Blumenthal.

Shooting facilities, Braunschweig.

Queens warp, Gehrden.

Salute to welcome freindly clubs, Remels.

Stepped out.
Disburdened during the festivities, Remels.

Also there.
Girl at the final celebration, Benningsen.

Tambour stick of the brass band, Remels.

A new member in the club, Remels.
0,3 l of beer have to be drunk out of the hat. Before that he had to eat
„Joghurt mit Schuß“ (Joghurt with schnaps) and sausages in a mustard-
mayonnaise-ketchup dresseing. Passed.

“Schützen” (Marksmen)

There are about two million marksmen in Germany actively involved in clubs. Compared to sport clubs like football the significance of the gun sport is only very little, bearing in mind the negative media reception caused by the Columbine massacre or Erfurt.
“Wir sind Sportschützen, keine Mordschützen” (“We do shooting as a sport, not for murder”), is what we hear at the meeting of a gun club in Hannover. We learn further that their club keeps and passes on tradition and customs! After all, many clubs date back to the Middle Ages, where their purpose was to protect the villages/cities. Back then, “Schützenfeste” (shooting festivals) were held by the middle classes as a pendant to the tournaments of the aristocracy.
Until the present day marksmen celebrate their “Schützenfest” every year – obviously the party in their own village is the absolute highlight of all activities during the year and it is not uncommon that they take a week off work for preparation. A must for the party is a brass band, a fanfare procession and the presence of “friendly” clubs.
We went on a search for traces.
We found ourselves in German front gardens with loud music and salutes to honour the kings, queens and eldest, who had won the competitions. Besides the sportive event, people had a couple of drinks in the festival tent or sometimes only a few quick shots. New members had to pass their baptism, jubilee presents got handed over until time has come and everyone was ready for the final celebration, the “Schützenausmarsch” (when everyone moves off the festival ground together).
The pictures were taken throughout Niedersachsen, Germany, May-July 2004.

rii.schroer(at)gmx.net, letocha_jan(at)gmx.net

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