Originally Posted by mactire
Its common enough in parts of Europe, mostly worn by guys who are apprentice carpenters or other building trades who travel for a certain number of years to learn different skills and improve their English.
About 2 years ago, in a bar in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, I met 3 German guys who were doing just that. Travelling around Europe as a sort of apprenticeship
, doing jobs to earn their keep, and dressed in a very antiquated style
, almost like the Amish.
The tradition is called "der Walz".
The tradition of the journeyman years (German: auf der Walz sein) persisted well into the 1920s in German-speaking countries, but was set back by multiple events like Nazis banning the tradition, the postwar German economic boom making it seem too much of a burden, and in East Germany the lack of opportunities for work in an economic system based on Volkseigener Betrieb. Beginning in the late 1980s, renewed interest in tradition in general together with economic changes (especially after the fall of the Berlin Wall) have caused the tradition to gain wider acceptance. The tradition was brought back to life mostly unchanged from the medieval concept since the journeyman brotherhoods (German: Schächte, literally "shafts") still existed.
The journeyman brotherhoods had established a standard to ensure that wandering journeymen are not mistaken for tramps and vagabonds. The journeyman is required to be unmarried, childless and debt-free - so that the journeyman years will not be taken as a chance to run away from social obligations. In modern times the brotherhoods often require a police clearance. Additionally, journeymen are required to wear a specific uniform (German: Kluft) and to present themselves in a clean and friendly manner in public. This helps them to find shelter for the night and a ride to the next town.
Journeymen can be easily recognised on the street by their clothing. The carpenter's black hat has a broad brim; some professions use a black stovepipe hat or a cocked hat. The carpenters wear black bell-bottoms and a waistcoat and carry the Stenz, which is a traditional curled hiking pole. Since many professions have since converted to the uniform of the carpenters, many people in Germany believe that only carpenters go journeying, which is untrue – since the carpenter's uniform is best known and well received, it simply eases the journey.
The uniform is completed with a golden earring and golden bracelets - which could be sold in hard times and in the Middle Ages could be used to pay the gravedigger if any wanderer should die on his journey. The journeyman carries his belongings in a leather backpack called the Felleisen, but some medieval towns banned those (for the fleas in them) so that many journeyman used a coarse cloth to wrap up their belongings.
Also very important is, to never say costume, because a costume is something to change your self into someone else. But a uniform is something to represent something that someone is.