... and Lots of Mischief
Many jester guilds have a policeman or bailiff as a persiflage on state authorities who is in charge of law and order, the jester version of law and order of course. The one in Konstanz is, to me, the cutest of them all...
The Polizeiblätz , member of the Blätzlebuebe guild, 'rides' a white horse. He is the leader of the Blätzlebuebe guild in the Fastnacht parades. With his bell he announces the coming parade and makes room. He wears a Blätzlehäs like the others but unlike them, he has a wooden mask on his face and a small tricorn on his head.
The typical local jester figure is the Blätzlebue (plural: Blätzlebuebe). In local dialect the small U-shaped pieces of fabric that are sewn all over the Häs are named Blätzle. They do not wear wooden masks but a textile headcover which is also covered in Blätzle, with a red cockscomb on top. Their colours are generally dark. Some even have the edges of each Blätzle embroidered in different colours.
The Fastnacht in Konstanz begins with the Hemdglunker on Carnival Thursday. People dress in white nightshirts and roam the dark streets early in the morning. Later on the guilds visit the schools of the town and 'free' the children. The main event of the Konstanzer Fastnacht is the big parade on Sunday afternoon.
The first time I got to see the Konstanzer guild was during the jester meeting in Bad Cannstatt 2009. They also showed up at the meeting in Singen 2010. Hence in some of my photos the background shows a different city. In 2011 I finally made it to Konstanz to see the Sunday parade.
Outside the Fifth Season, the Blätzlebuebe are present in Konstanz's centre in a fountain with three bronze statues. The surrounding square has been renamed Blätzleplatz in their honour.
Seehasen - Lake Bunnies
The cute bunnies refer to the regional nickname of the people who live along the lake: „Seehasen“. A local jester guild has created this colourful Seehasen Häs for Fastnacht. It has become a title of honour and part of their identity, it seems, and is in use all the time. The local SBB and DB trains that run along the lake shores have been named „Seehas“, you’ll see the name written on the train cars. The sculptors Barbara and Gernot Rumpf have created a group of them at Kaiserbrunnen.
Jakobiner Club and their Tribunal
Fastnacht fans and supporters of the ideas of the French Revolution founded the Jacobins Club in Konstanz more than 40 years ago. The Jakobiner have become an essential part of Konstanz's Fastnacht. They dress as French revolutionaries in blue-white-red, all with a bleeding scratch in their faces (painted of course). They carry flags along for the parade, a cannon, and a cart with the inevitable guillotine.
Their main activity, however, is not just participating in parades. Every year on Greasy Thursday (the first of the High Days) they hold a tribunal against a local or regional celebrity who has then to atone for his or her sins towards the common people.
The biggest event of the Fastnacht in Konstanz, and the most interesting to watch for visitors, is the main parade in the afternoon of Carnival Sunday. The parade starts at 14:00 next to the protestant church, leads through the old town to Niederburg and back into the old town via Marktstätte, and ends near the train station. Expect crowds, so secure a good place to stand and watch early enough. The common salutation, by the way, is „Ho - Narro!“
Beware of Fastnacht Pranks... The usually security measures apply, some guilds play rather mean tricks on spectators. The witch is stealing a girl's hair clip - caught in the act. (She got it back but she had to run after the witch.)
Masked jesters love to play pranks on innocent spectators, at least certain groups. Witches are always suspicious, as are other demonic creatures and the carpenters' guild. Young girls who dress up are most likely to fall victims to the guys under the masks. (My trick is stand close to a group of teenage disco queens - they attract all attention and I am left in peace. Okay I am too old to be of much interest anyway, LOL.)
The witch cart has a cage where girls are caught and showered with confetti or straw. This seat is also a confetti bath, which is then set to rotation.
The meanest of all are the carpenters. This year in Konstanz I observed a new level. On the cart they have installed one of those devices that actually serve to pack Christmas trees into nets. Instead of a tree, one can push a girl through the ring, feet first, so she ends up in the net. The result, she is well wrapped and tied up. Luckily she has some friends who lend a hand to free her...
PHOTO GALLERY OF THE PARADE