What is "Schlaraffia"?
This year “Schlaraffia Cincinnatia” will celebrate its 125th anniversary. It is part of an international men’s organization with hundreds of chapters worldwide, 27 of them in North America. The Founding Chapter or “Reych” opened in Prague, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1859. It was initiated by artists, writers and critics that were excluded from more elitist circles that were open only to those who fulfilled rigid lineage requirements. Thus a new “Reych” was proclaimed, with ‘Knights’ of its own, wearing helmets reminiscent of heraldic traditions. Soon new “Reychs” spawned off, at first in German speaking cities in Europe, and then in German speaking circles throughout the world, with Cincinnati as the 119th chapter in 1893. It is probably the only German speaking Society remaining from those days.
With structured meetings conducted entirely in German, Schlaraffia is open to any man with reasonable command of conversational German at any stage of his profession or retirement. Cincinnatia has its own dedicated space at Mecklenburg Gardens, with meetings on Thursday evenings from October through April. There, members contribute with presentations, hear musical performances and share funny stories. Their 3 main tenets are: Friendship, Art, and Humor! Often, they receive members from other “Reychs”, such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Florida, New Orleans and often from Europe, who then contribute with their own themes with a lot of fanfare and pageantry. Cincinnatia’s members are always welcomed in those chapters in return. Do visit us on a non-committal basis as a “Pilger” and if you show interest and aptitude, get rewarded by moving through the ranks, until you eventually are a ‘Knight’ or “Ritter”. Have fun, make friends, learn something new … and brush up your German in the process!