Goat history and goatish squabbles
The first documented reference to the auction of billy goats in the Hinterwald forest of Deidesheim, to which Niederkirchen also belonged, dates back to 1404. It benefits the municipality of Lambrecht and St. Lambrecht Abbey. The contract mentions the grazing rights of Lambrecht "since time immemorial" in return for the annual delivery of a billy goat, which had to be well horned and in good condition. The billy goat had to be tied by the youngest citizen of the town of Lambrecht to a certain ring which was attached to the Deidesheim town hall on the Tuesday after Whitsun at sunrise. The bringer of the goat was officially rewarded with cheese bread and two measures of wine. Late in the afternoon, the goat was to be auctioned off for the benefit of the town treasury. This, probably somewhat complicated, contract often resulted in heated disagreements between the contracting parties. Who wants to buy a goat at auction that is not suitable for breeding? In 1808, there were disagreements once again. To prevent the situation from getting worse, messengers were sent to Napoleon I's camp at Arando de Guero in Spain. A decree signed by him personally was sent back, issuing the order for the agreements already made to be maintained. A very wise decision – thanks to Napoleon, we still celebrate the Historic Billy Goat Auction on Whit Tuesday with a great deal of joy.