Not „Jingle Bells“ in terms of „Winter Wonderland“, but „Jingle Bells“ in terms of music and, well, bells –
what I’m saying is: I’m really into music, as some of you might know. And, working on a church tower, just above the 8 bells, I am fond of that wonderful sound, and really into history and the deeper meaning of everything that surrounds me.
The bells of „my“ church, St. Lambert’s, are hidden in the belfry, the only bell one comes across on the way up to the tower keeper’s room is the „Rats- und Brandglocke“ – the bell which used to resonate in cases of fires and municipal (council) reasons.
This bell is something very special: Belonging to the city’s government, not part of the church-related chimes, today only tolled every few years (with the Lord Mayor elections) – by the towerkeeper himself, respectively herself!
There are other cities in Europe where the people who are called „Türmer“ (towerkeeper or tower guards) traditionally still ring the bells, on days of Solemnity even manually with ropes like in the old days.
Back to my title „Jingle Bells“: Did you ever realize there are so many many songs with „Bell“ – For whom the bell tolls (Metallica), Hells Bells (AC/DC)… and there was the exhibition „Heavy Metal“ in Dortmund, Germany, which revolved around: Bells!
As Türmerin von Münster I was being asked to give a guest lecture on towerkeepers and bells and some historical background stuff. This trip to Dortmund was fun and I recommend every one of you, dear readers, to visit the city which was called „Tremonia“ in medieval times – AFTER you came to my beautiful Münster, of course! The medieval traces and trails in Dortmund though have to be discovered real thouroughly (because Dortmund does not look very medieval at first sight) and are best seen from the tower of St. Reinoldi during a guided tour.
Some impressions of my recent trip to DO:
And to everybody else who lives too far away from Münster or Dortmund or even Germany, I would recommend to visit some other churches, belfry, bells, and towers in your neighborhood – bells tell stories, they call, they warn, they can overwhelm you with their sound.
There are interesting inscriptions on many of them, referring to their builder, their patron or their determination.
A broken bell looks sad:
Do you remember the many fables and fairytales about the bells who rang without anybody actually touching them? Or the bells that lay deep on the ground of some old village pond and were chiming through the waters? Or the bells that suddenly burst into thousand pieces when somebody just died? Or…
Bells, bells, bells… not only on Christmas Eve but everywhere around us, if we just walked around with wide open eyes, being sensitive for the chimes – and in former times, people believed in the power of the bells to ban thunder and rain and pestilence as well! And tonight I sit and listen and wait for the bells to talk to me again…