Meet Ernst and Bob. Ernst is a native of Germany and Bob is born in California. For the last 16 years, they meet regularly in the evening in front of a clubhouse. The moment they enter the clubhouse, a metamorphosis starts with both of them: They dress up in a colorful mantle and place a kind of bonnet on their head. What happened?
Ernst and Bob left their ordinary daily life behind and became ‘Sir Lanzelot’ and ‘Don Camino Real’, ‘Knights of Schlaraffia’! Conversing in German with all the other men in attendance, they are eager to play a game full of arts, humor and cultural tradition.
For the last 150 years this scenario has been repeated at 260 clubhouses worldwide once every week from October through April. Now you surely think that all this looks like a lodge or fraternity pursuing whatever agenda. Wrong!
Ernst and Bob are members of the organization ‘Schlaraffia’, a social society based on friendship and tolerance. Asked ‘how would you explain Schlaraffia?’ they would answer:
Should an uninformed person ever ask me the question:
What do you Schlaraffen do during your session?
I answer him: we are friends, full of muse most of the time,
like to laugh about jest with brains, and a good rhyme.
When we sit together we don’t brag, we don’t fight
who earns more money, who pays more tonight.
It doesn’t count how old you are,
not the position you had, not if you are a star,
but your style, and how you set the tone,
all the things which today we regard as past and bemoan.
When others think, you can only dream about that,
let’s tell them they miss out a lot to laugh at,
if they don’t preserve all this in defiance of others
as we do this since ages as friends and brothers.
'Don Camino Real'
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