Sunday, July 22, 2012
When : July 22nd
Ratcatcher's Day commemorates the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the most infamous of Ratcatchers.
One of the most well known German folklores is the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The town of Hamelin, Germany was infested by rats. The mayor promised to handsomely pay the Pied Piper, if he rid the town of rats. The Pied Piper played his flute. Lured by the magical music, all of the rats left town, and followed him. He played his music all the way down to the river. He waded into the river. The rats followed him and drowned. The mayor refused to pay him. So, one night when the townspeople were asleep, the Pied Piper played his music again. This time, the children of the town followed him all the way into a cave. Some versions for the legend vary here. In one version, th e Pied Piper kept them there until he was paid by the town for his services. In most versions, the children were never to be seen again.
How many Rats were lured to the River? Estimates are upwards of a million!
If you see a Ratcatcher today, wish them Happy Ratcatcher's Day!
The Origin of Ratcatcher's Day:
We have yet to discover why July 22 was selected as the date for Ratcatcher's Day.
According to the legend, the Pied Piper rid the town of Hamelin, Germany of rats on or around June 26, 1284. After the town mayor refused to make payment as promised, the Pied Piper returned to lure the children to a cave. In some versions of the legend, this occurred the next night. In others, he returned several weeks later. We speculate that "several weeks later" was July 22nd.