The society of men, which is called Schlaraffia, is in the strict sense, a fraternity. Its clubs are spread all over the world and can be found on each continent. Artists and academicians in Prag (Prague), which was considered at the time the Mekka (Mecca) of German culture, founded the Schlaraffia society in 1859. Its aim was to offset the chauvinistic and egotistic behavior of the nobility, and to create a hideout for men from the exertions and worries of the profane life. The Society's maxims consist of fostering art, humor and friendship.
An actor by the name of Victor Mueller-Fabricius founded the club in Cincinnati in 1893. Almost the whole Symphony Orchestra of Cincinnati joined the Society at that time. The name of the Cincinnati settlement is Schlaraffia Cincinnatia. The official language used during meetings and correspondence is German.
Many customs and some semantics of medieval times are used at the sessions, since Schlaraffia maintains its relationship to civic societies of the Medieval Age.
During the meetings that occur weekly during the winter months and less often during summer months, attendees listen to lectures prepared by speakers on such topics as problems of technique, art and literature. The lectures are followed by discussions where much wit and humor are usually exchanged.
The place of the Schlaraffia assemblies is called Burg. In Cincinnati, the Burg is the former Steuben House on Rohs Street in Clifton.
The Society venerates the owl, called UHU in German, as the emblem of wisdom. The owl was honored at the times of the Antike (Greek and Roman antiquity) as the representative of prudence and wisdom. Of the three goals of Schlaraffia, the most important one is the sincere friendship that glues the membership together and obligates each Schlaraffe to provide mutual aid and assistance according to his potential.
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