Carinthia explained - Fronleichnam
(only in English)
Those of you who do not come from predominantly catholic countries might wonder what we are celebrating on this Thursday in June. Today´s festivity is called "Fronleichnam". You might have found out from your dictionaries that "Leichnam" usually means 'corpse' in German. Sounds rather morbid, but it is actually not morbid at all. In ancient German "Leichnam" was composed of "Leib" meaning 'body' and "Hama" which meant 'shell'. You could say 'corpus christi' is a celebration of the last supper - but because it would be improper to celebrate the last supper on Maundy Thursday (because of the impending suffering of Christ), we just eat spinach then and don´t let any church bells ring - and the proper celebration of Jesus´ body and blood in the host is traditionally postponed until the Fronleichnam Thursday.
This celebration typically starts with people going to church. After the eucharist, the congregation leaves church and forms a procession to an outside altar, with the priest carrying an ornamental container for the host. That container is called "Monstranz" - 'monstrare' - meaning 'to show' in Latin. Why? There is a tiny window in the often heavily adorned Monstranz, and through it, the host is shown to people. Flowers are strewn by children, in some Carinthian areas women lay intricate multicoloured patterns with flowers - a custom originating from Italy. Some church communities have fairs in the afternoon. These revolve around music, dining, drinking, meeting up and maybe putting children on trampolines or allowing them to paint their faces - there´s not too much Latin involved in the afternoons.