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62 | Arno Haldemann www.jrfm.eu 2018, 4/2, 55–66 instruments, the entourage of young, unmarried men raucously made their way to the couple’s new domicile. To remain incognito, the participants were often disguised. They sometimes resorted to violence with “sooty cloth and rags on rods” against rubberneckers or relatives or turned their improvised weapons on the exterior of the houses.30 Those latter circumstances probably induced Moser to comment that “misfortune” (Unglück) could often emerge during the transfer of the trousseau from one house to the other. Hence, “to avoid all un- pleasant consequences, one wished to have this marriage blessed in the great- est possible peace”.31 Another man was afraid of the threatening “caricatures and antics” (Kari katuren und Possen) his unmarried masculine peers in the community might perform because of his deviant marriage aspiration.32 In his petition for dis- pensation from the banns, he recorded in writing his fear of becoming the vic- tim of mockery and pranks on account of his wanting to marry the widow of a deceased relative. Antics sometimes involved audio-visual accompaniments to marriages which deliberately subverted social roles and customs. The carni- valesque performances of the unmarried men corresponded with a mock trial (Narrengerichte) and the Feast of Fools, which acted out the supposedly per- verted reality to atone for it publicly.33 They were generally staged at the end of a cacophonous procession. Another contemporary travel report gives us in- sight into a specific enactment of such a carnivalesque play: “At the destination they build a circle; the rough music comes to an end; impromptu some wanton pranksters hold farcical speeches, whose content one can guess.” If the bride was pregnant before the marriage, this was indicated with a straw puppet. This puppet was either raised on a rod to make it visible to the whole carnival com- munity or else the charivari’s participants would “bring it along in a baby cradle, rock it and sing to it”. If the bridal couple was poor, “the moody guests trade in cattle or cheese with feigned sincerity, milk the cows while imitating the sound, or pretend to offer the bridal couple very generous gifts for the dowry”. When the antics were over, the whole flock returned home “with unruly laughter and noise”.34 30 “berusste[n] Lumpen und Lappen an Stangen”, Wyss 1816–17, 1, 335. For reports of similar rituals cf. Klapisch-Zuber 1987. 31 “wünschte man zu Ausweichung aller unangenehmen Folgen, dass diese Ehe in möglicher Stille eingesegnet würde”, BAR B0#1000/1483#604* 1798–1801, 423. 32 BAR B0#1000/1483#604* 1798–1801, 323. 33 Davis 1971, 41–75; Ingram 2004, 288–308; Hoffmann-Krayer 1904, 85–86; “Autor/in” 2015, 442. 34 “Am Orte der Bestimmung wird ein Kreis gebildet; die rasende Musik nimmt ein Ende; und aus dem Stegreife halten ein paar muthwillige Lecker spasshafte Reden, deren Inhalt sich errathen lässt; bringt sie in einer Wiege daher, wiegt sie und singt dazu; handeln die launichten [sic] Gäste mit verstelltem Ernst um Vieh oder Käs, melken mit nachahmendem Geräusch die Kühe, oder machen den Hochzeitleu- ten zum Schein recht grosse Geschenke zur Aussteuer; mit unbändigem Lachen und Lärmen”, Wyss 1816–1817, 1:335–336.
JRFM Journal Religion Film Media, Volume 04/02