Saber Arch - Germany and Austria

Germany and Austria

In Germany and Austria, saber arches are commonly employed by various types of male-only Studentenverbindungen (student fraternities).

At weddings, the current officials - usually a team of three - salute their newlywed member and his bride by a single arch featuring a flag just outside the church. No further protocol is common.

In a similar fashion, the aforementioned officials salute their deceased brothers at funerals. Usually walking directly behind the coffin bearers in the procession, they surround the grave from three sides at the graveyard. The saber arch is then presented from both sides, and the flag is raised above the head of the corpse. As the coffin is lowered into the earth, both the saber arch and the flag follow him, usually resting there while last words are uttered.

Sabers are commonly held by the first and second member in charge, whereas the third highest ranking member presents the flag, usually displaying the fraternity's characteristic colors or coat of arms. The process is inspired by military traditions, as early Studentenverbindungen consisted mostly of officers or aristocrats. The uniforms worn are usually derived from those employed in the Polish revolution of 1830 and are complete with hat, sash and jacket in the fraternity's colors, white pants, riding boots with spores and white gloves.

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