Andreas Stroebl Dana Vick

Hop bed and witch herbs. Or: How Christian is superstition?

Published: 2009-10-28 | DOI: 10.54799/OUQV3183

Abstract

Interdisciplinary investigations of tombs in recent years have shown that even in modern Christian graves grave goods and special adornment of the body and the coffin appear again and again. However these phenomena can not simply be classified as "superstition" because it is not possible to indisputably differentiate them from acts of belief. Thus bedding a body on hop blossoms has a symbolic or magical meaning besides the practicality of this custom. A special meaning is attributed to plant offerings - often herbs, moss and evergreen plants in the form of garlands or bunches - in funeral customs. This is also the case with eggs, toilet articles and ribbons which were tied across coffins in the 18 th and 19 th centuries. Finally, the decoration of coffins shows elements clearly connected to the dying, the dead and the process of mourning.

How to Cite

Stroebl, Andreas, and Dana Vick. 2009. “Hop Bed and Witch Herbs. Or: How Christian Is Superstition?”. EAZ – Ethnographisch-Archaeologische Zeitschrift 50 (1/2):311-26. https://doi.org/10.54799/OUQV3183.
Cross bands in zigzag in two coffins in the crypt under the Parochial Church, Berlin. Drawing: A. Ströbl
Cross bands in zigzag in two coffins in the crypt under the Parochial Church, Berlin. Drawing: A. Ströbl
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