The dunking tradition at Druckhaus Götz
“TAKE HOLD! PLACE HIS CORPUS POSTERIUS ON THIS WET SPONGE, TILL HIS BEHIND IS DRIPPING AND THOROUGHLY SOAKED. GIVE THIS THIRSTY SOUL A THOROUGH DUNKING. WHAT BETTER BAPTISM COULD A CHILD OF GUTENBERG ASPIRE TO?“
During the dunking ritual, a printer’s tradition which can be traced back to the 16th century, the apprentices who passed their exams are completely immersed in a tub filled with water or placed on a wet sponge.
Even today the apprentices still get wet during the dunking ritual. However, not only does the apprentice to be inducted get wet but often also the aides, the sponge holder and the spectators. Of course, the apprentices will not be given the exact date of the dunking ceremony. If they succeed in escaping from the aides and thus from dunking, they do not have to pay for the dunking celebration themselves. After the cheerful ceremony they will receive their initiation certificate which confirms the apprentice’s induction as followers of Gutenberg.
At Druckhaus Götz, this tradition is still cultivated today, most recently in the spring 2011!