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The Herring Gift ...

The Herring Gift, same as the St. John's Day Singing, was reintroduced by Abbess Lichte-Pfannkuche in the 1980s.

The Herring Gift dates back to a charitable donation by Pelleke von Hodenberg in 1522. From a capital of 100 golden guilders, an annual gift of white bread and unbleached cloth to the value of eight shillings was to be made to pupils and poor people, and of white bread to the same value to the "spinsters of the convent". In 1548, the gift was converted to a "tone of herring and as much bread as required"; however, later only bread was given, then corn or flour and ultimately just cash.

Detail Horseshoe

In 1902, Abbess von Marschalk complained about the misuse of the monastery's gift of money from the Herring Gift. Pupils would only "blow" the money, while needy women were embarrassed to accept flour or corn. Because the monastery's charitable tasks had increased considerably, the Herring Gift was integrated into the monastery's general poor relief, despite the protests of the schoolmaster who used to receive a payment for its distribution.

On the occasion of the monastery's 1000th anniversary, Abbess Lichte-Pfannkuche revived the Herring Gift in a form more suited to the modern age: every two years, Year 4 pupils in Walsrode schools are given sweet herring-shaped cakes which the ladies of the convent, dressed in their festive gown on this special day, hand out to the children visiting the monastery.