I experienced something yesterday while in a restaurant that in all my years living here has never happened – I spoke with a carpenter journeyman. There is a tradition in Germany, after an apprentice of a trade serves his time, he can choose to do the traditional journeyman years – one year and one day – traveling routes that have been around since medieval times to gain their experience before making their masterpiece to present to the guild. He (or she) carries a small cloth bag with his belongings and a stick and wears his (or her) costume and trades their services to gain experience and food and lodgings.
The restaurant owners didn’t wish to support him, so, as it was snowing outside, he allowed himself to call on the tradition to ask the people present to support him with some money for food and lodgings. It was very humbling to watch him recite the old rhyme and the people happily gave him some money and were interested to speak to him about his journey.
It made me wonder, how this would have affected the building trade and the problems and greed that had come out of this in recent years, if this tradition had survived in my homeland.