Thursday, August 6, 2009
Carpenters on the journey, a European tradition
Who are these people? Yesterday, I was lucky to take this picture. They are wandering carpenters. There is a tradition in Germany, in Scandinavia, Belgium, Netherlands and in France: When a carpenter or other building craft apprentice (stonemason, bricklayer, wood or stone sculpturor) has done his journeyman's piece, he goes on a journey. Persons male or female, under 30, single, not in debt, no children, no criminal record: These are the conditions to be allowed by the guild. These guys wear a traditional suit of dark corduroy, a large hat, a twisted stick and a piece of cloth instead of a bag. They ask for jobs, a bed or a meal in rhymes. They take jobs as carpenters and they have a small journal in which their employers sign, so they have a recording of what they have been doing and where. They are not allowed to spend money on bed, meals, and journey. They have to remain at a distance of 50 miles from their homes. They wear an earring; in old times it was ripped out if a carpenter did something illegal; that's why we call a cheating person "split ear". After 2 or 3 years they settle down.