Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Raffle of Osing
The “Osingverlosung” is a centuries-old tradition, where every ten years jointly owned fields are redistributed among the farmers of the villages Humprechtsau, Krautostheim, Herbolzheim and Rüdisbronn near Bad Windsheim (Bavaria). The “Osing” is communal agricultural land comprising 264 hectares or 213 field lots of land.
Facts & figures
Crucial date: every 10 years in years ending on a „4“
Domains: social practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practice concerning nature and the universe
Where to find: Humprechtsau, Krautostheim, Herbolzheim and Rüdisbronn, all near Bad Windsheim (Bavaria)
Those who are have a right of use in the adjacent villages manage the Osing together and raffle the farmland every ten years according to established rules. After two weeks of preparation and measuring the farmland by one representative of each village, the lottery takes place in the Osing house.
This is where holders of the legal right of use, representatives of the Osing administration, guests and the media meet to participate in the lottery together. The lottery day is a ceremonial act and is accompanied by local music and singing associations.
After lunch raffled fields can be swapped. An ingenious system ensures that fertile and less suitable fields are fairly distributed. Advantages and disadvantages of the land are balanced with money. Other benefits of the fields such as fruit harvesting, carp ponds and hunting rights are let out on lease by the community.
According to the Federal Ministry responsible for Agriculture, the Osing is the largest community-owned area in Europe. The municipality-free plateau is the last mark cooperative in Germany and was first mentioned in a charter on 8th of May 1465. In German-speaking regions, this medieval legal form of Common Land has remained to this day only in this place.