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Die Vogelhochzeit

Posted by Alix on 1 November 2007


(trans: The Bird Wedding, a play to the along-sung)

Continuing the German theme, here are some photos of a card game I bought at the Hamburg antique market mentioned in the previous post. Translated into English the name is The Bird Wedding and the cards are in pairs, each with a rhyme. I haven’t really good a clue as to the rules or point of the game, what with my poor German, but it’s still kind of charming, it feels like a children’s rhyme of some sort. Each of the pairs of birds seem to be bringing something to the wedding of the two blackbirds, in a way it seems a bit like Who Killed Cock Robin.

I’d love to hear from anyone who knows more about this game. I shall post 2 pairs of cards per post, to keep things manageable. And I’ll run the German through Babelfish to attempt some kind of translation, which should be amusing, if not actually helpful.


(trans: the blackbird is brautigam/ the throttle is brewed)


(trans: the finke – the finke/ that brings brewed the strumpfe)


12 Responses to “Die Vogelhochzeit”

  1. laughingowl said

    Brautigam = bridegroom
    Die finke = finch
    Drossel = thrush
    Braut = bride
    Strumpfe = stockings

    So I was wrong in assuming it was a pair of blackbirds getting married – it’s a blackbird and a thrush. Interspecies marriage. Shocking!

    I guess the rhyme goes more like this:

    The blackbird is the bridegroom/ the thrush is the bride
    The finch brings the bride stockings.

    I reckon (unless it’s a lady finch) that the finch and the thrush have been having it away behind the blackbird’s back. Stockings are not an innocent gift!

  2. Sonny said

    Today is Vogelhochzeit here in Germany, where I live. It´s very traditional. If you want to know more about it feel free to ask.

  3. laughingowl said

    I’d love to know more – what exactly is it? I can’t find anything really online, and my German is pretty it based on a children’s story or something like that?

  4. madsilence said

    Oh I’m jealous! What a delightful find. I’ll share this with my German speaking friends. My high school German isn’t up on birds but the bird with speckled breast must be a thrush and Black (Schwarzer) Peter a blackbird. But who brings the stockings? It doesn’t look like a finch…

    “Ein Spiel zum mitsingen”: A game to sing together? “Bilder” is the painter or illustrator, “Verlag” the publisher, Pößneck (Poessneck) the city where published.

    Is there a date on the cards? Looks early 20th century…1910s? There was a tremendous volume of colored printing in Europe & America, and games were very popular.


  5. laughingowl said

    The date on the little instruction booklet that came with it says 1958, but I agree, they do look older than that. If your German friends can shed any light on the game I’d be interested in hearing about it.

    Embarrassingly, given this blog, I am pretty poor at identifying birds!

    Thanks for the comment :)

  6. MadSilence said

    Apparently an ancient German folk song.

    In some areas of Europe there is an annual custom of the “bird wedding.”

  7. Pusteblume said

    These cards are referring to an ancient German folk song. Oh, how I love this song. It remembers me of my childhood! My grandparents used to have those cards back in the days and I used to have a songbook with this beautiful song in it. It’s a shame that my mom threw it away :(
    The “Vogelhochzeit” is one of the best-known folk songs throughout Germany. The lyrics date from 1470 and were set to music somewhere in the 17th century. The song is about a marriage between a (male) thrush and a (female) blackbird.

  8. Xenophon said

    Dear Laughingowl,

    Thanks for oour posting. We have a set of these cards, but no instructions! Will you please let me know where I can get them? Many thanks.


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