One of the things that I love about Germany (and yes, there are some things! Hope I haven't been overly negative....)is that there are some professions where people still wear their traditional costume. One of them that comes to mind is a chimney sweep (and yes, there is such a thing still!).
I remember the first time I saw a chimney sweep (in German, Schornsteinfeger.) He was was wearing an all black suit, a jacket with tails and sporting a top hat. I assumed he must be going to a costume party somewhere. I mentioned this to my boyfriend and he told me there was no party. He was just a chimney sweep on his way to work. A chimney sweep all decked out in a coat with tails and a top hat? How very Mary Poppins! But it got even better: My boyfriend told me chimney sweep were considered good luck and that people like to touch them when they see them so that the luck will rub off on them.
"B.S.! I said, but he swore that it was true.
"And they don't care that perfect strangers touch them?"
My boyfriend just shrugged. "It's part of their profession."
A year or so later I saw a female chimney sweep in full costume shopping at H & M. But I was too chicken to touch her, though I wanted to...
Another profession where they do this is a Zimmermann, or carpenter. Their costume looks like this:
The walking stick is because, after their training, the do a year or so of travelling around the country or abroad, where they hitchhike and work at places where they stop along the way, something called to be auf der Walz. Actually, I just saw two down the street today with their ISO mats strapped over their backs which gave me the idea for this post. Apparently if you see one hitchhiking and don't pick them up it is very bad luck. So if you see this fellow in the future, be sure to stop!