Spring Festivity at Steigra

One of the four historical labyrinths in Germany is situated at Steigra in the Burgenlandkreis district in Saxony-Anhalt. It is also named Sweden Ring or Troy Town.

The layout is the classical type with 11 circuits. The exact time of origin is uncertain. Much points to the 17th century, in addition, an older origin would be conceivable. It lies beside a hill grave.

In the neighborhood one made world-wide unique archaeologically finds in the last years: The 7000 years old sun observatory of Goseck, the 3600 years old sky disk of Nebra.

The turf labyrinth of Steigra kept over centuries. Nowadays it is maintained annually by the confirmands of the locality. The patron saint of the parish church is St George, and there is even a tavern St George.

Annually on Saturday after April 23, the day of St George, takes place a spring celebration at the labyrinth. This year that was on April 26, 2008.

Caught in the labyrinth

Caught in the labyrinth

The citizens of Steigra accomplished this spring celebration for the first time 1995 according to own conceptions and with own texts. The whole village takes active part in it.

The dragon is beaten

The dragon is beaten

But the main part is thereby a ritual in the labyrinth. A young woman represents the winter sun virgin, which is caught in the labyrinth and has to be released from a knight.

The sun virgin

The sun virgin

Each year another virgin is selected. The knight is determined before in a kind of knight tournament among several young men.

The liberation

The liberation

Before the freeing of the sun virgin the knight must solve still further tasks and kill also a dragon, which guards the labyrinth.

Virgin and knight

Virgin and knight

On a board at the labyrinth you can read the following poem (translated to English):

From the chains of hard winters, I, knight, liberated you;
whereon on us and our children the sun’s blessing is shining.
You lovely virgin gives me strength, warmth, and fertility;
the bad, dark powers of the night avoid our togetherness.

In the year 2008 Sophie Kaiser were the virgin and Ronnie Sobirai the knight.

Here a short video from the ceremony:

More photos of the labyrinth in the photo gallery on mymaze.

Here you can read a post about archaeoastronomy for the labyrinth of Steigra.

1 thought on “Spring Festivity at Steigra

  1. Pingback: A Temporary Labyrinth on the Magdeburg Domplatz (Germany) « blogmymaze

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