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Entries about alemannic fastnacht

Elzach: Beware of the Schuttig

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The small town of Elzach at the far end of the Elz valley is famous for its ancient carnival traditions. Here you can watch the alemannic Fastnacht at its best, and scariest. Elzach is one of the most traditional centres of the alemannic Fastnacht and member of the Viererbund. Two types of costumes are all the guild allows: the Schuttig and the Rägemolli, plus a number of singular figures. Officially only males are allowed to participate.

Fastnacht in Elzach begins on carnival Sunday at noon. A big parade takes place on Sunday afternoon (15.00), then there is the night parade (Sunday 20.00). Another parade happens on Tuesday afternoon (15.00). All parades start at Ladhof, east of the town centre, and leads along the main road to close to the train station and the same way back again, so you can watch them twice. If you want a good spot for taking photos be there at least half an hour earlier.
The Sunday night parade, which begins at 8 p.m. on Carnival Sunday, is the most impressive event of the whole Fasnet. All lights in town are turned out. The Schuttigs parade the dark streets with torches, which give a dramatic effect. The masks never look scarier. Highly recommended!

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The main figure in the Fastnacht of Elzach is the Schuttig. The red fringy Häs is worn with a green headcover, a triangular straw hat covered with snail shells and three red woollen balls, wood-carved mask, white scarf and gloves. Most Schuttigs carry Saublodere: a stick with two or three inflates pig's bladders (indeed, real ones). These serve for two purposes: 1. hitting the ground to make noise, and 2. hitting people, preferably on the head. Yes it hurts, and yes it's a tiny little bit disgusting, especially in the rain when they become wet, smeary and stinky...

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The second typical Häs in Elzach, less frequent than the Schuttig, is the Rägemolli. The name derives from „Regenmolch“, a local name for the fire salamander, because of the black dots. The corners of the hat have paper palls instead of wool, the headcover and scarf may have different colours. The front side of the jacket is painted with a moon, a bat and an owl while the back shows the sun. Many Rägemollis carry a broomstick to tease people with.

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Elzach’s jesters never takes off their mask in public. All masks are individually made to measure, carved from linden wood. Eight different types of masks offer a wide variety:
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All parades follow the same pattern. The black Teufelschuttig (Devil Schuttig), a singular figure, leads the parade. His Häs is basically the same as that of the Schuttigs but all in black with red gloves and scarf. The wooden trident is the devil's 'weapon'. There is a lot of running at the beginning of the parade. The kids will tease the devil and provoke him to chase them with his trident.

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The Night Watchman and his Wife, who is always impersonated by a man, have an important role in the guild's internal meetings (which visitors won't be able to see). They walk at the front of the parade, followed by the Taganrufer (morning callers) whose duty is waking the town on Monday morning at 5.00. Then comes the brass band of the Stadtmusik in their pointed hats, who are playing one single piece, the Schuttig march, over and over again.

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Schuttigs and Rägemollis come in all sizes. For the young members of the jester guild in Elzach the Fasnet begins already on Thursday with the children's parade. Hundreds of little Schuttigs and Rägemollis parade the streets of the town. On Friday and Saturday you'll see kid-size Schuttigs in the streets, but no adult is allowed to wear the Häs before Sunday at noon.
The kids' Häs is the same as that of the adults. Very young kids will perhaps not yet wear the snail hat, only mask and headcover. Even infants are taken to the parades in decorated prams, usually in a Häs, some with, some without masks. The youngsters join the afternoon parades on Sunday and Tuesday, but they are not allowed in the night parade. Since these parades are a big mess - the adult Schuttigs run, dance, beat the pavement with the Saublodere etc. - small kids are kept safely at Daddys hand as not to be run over. Older kids may go on their own. The safest spot for the youngest participants is on the kids' truck which runs at the end of the parade. These mini Schuttigs up there are about 3 to 5 or 6 years old.

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Elzach can easily be visited from Freiburg. Hint: Don't go by car, there is but one road along the valley which will be jampacked, and parking won't be found in the town centre, you'll have to park on the outskirts and walk quite a bit. Take the train (Breisgau S-Bahn). In case you come to see the night parade, though, you’ll have to hurry afterwards because the last S-Bahn towards Freiburg departs shortly after 22.00.

Posted by Kathrin_E 10:29 Archived in Germany Tagged elzach alemannic_fastnacht Comments (0)

Oberndorf: The Most Nourishing Parade

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Oberndorf is a small town in the upper Neckar valley, situated between Horb and Rottweil, which is known for two things: the gun factory Mauser, and its Fastnacht (carnival) traditions. I have to admit that I have been looking hard for further beauties worth mentioning, but without much success. Since I don't feel much inclination to write about a gun factory, I'd like to present the carnival! Find out more about Hansel, Narro and Schantle, the Schantle band and the Jester Policeman, and the catching of sausages.

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A bit of Oberndorf's traditional Fastnacht stays visible all year round. the jester fountain in market square. The bronze statues depict (from left to right in the photo). Schantle, Narrenpolizist, Hansel and Narro.

Oberndorf is another of the traditional centres of carnival (Fastnacht) in the South West of Germany and member of the Viererbund. Fastnacht is short here, activities last from Monday afternoon to Tuesday night. The big day in Oberndorf is carnival Tuesday, the main parade begins at 8.30. The uphill part of the town is the centre. Since the town is small, the parade does the round twice before going downhill and ending in front of the Augustine church.

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The Rössle - horses and riders - are the first at the parade. Their task is pushing back the crowds and creating enough space for the following parade. They'll trot slowly along the edges of the street, uttering snorts and whinnies. Watch carefully - the 'horses' have only two legs, and the 'rider's' legs are fake... Guess who is doing the horse sounds...

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The first group in the parade after the leading band are the Hansels. The Hansel isn't complete without the red umbrella. The baskets contain sweets and oranges. Adults wear wooden masks, children have their faces painted instead. Hansel and Narro are jumping to the rhythm of the march to make their bells sound.

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The Narro wears the painted white Häs that is typical for many places between Eastern Black Forest and Neckar and can also be seen in Villingen and Rottweil. The bells he carries are not unusual either. The Oberndorfer Hansel's speciality and trademark, however, is the stick holding dozens of pretzels. Spectators are well fed. Halfway along the parade the sticks will need refilling.

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A Schantle is, in the old meaning of the word, a cloddish, rough and ready guy. While the Schantles in nearby Rottweil have been transformed into dignified, elegant bourgeois, those in Oberndorf still show the original idea. The Schantle wears a suit of rough cloth covered with multi-coloured rings and circles. He is walking slowly, often limping. Unlike Hansel and Narro masks which are rather standardised, the Schantle masks are individual faces. All have a big nose with warts. The baskets contain oranges, red and black sausages. The Schantles are my favourites among Oberndorf's Fastnacht characters. Aren't they funny and cute?

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A rare special mask type worn by Schantles is the Heulerle - the cryer. There may be three or four of them among the whole mass of Schantles in the parade, so watch out for them. The face is in (carved and painted) tears, the handkerchief always ready.
One Schantle in the parade wears this very old and dark mask, the Drecklärvle („dirt mask“). This is an individual historical piece, no one knows exactly how old it is. Watch out for it! I made it to catch him with my camera, and even better - he (I suppose) spotted me taking the photo and gave me a sausage!

The Fastnacht parade in Oberndorf is very nourishing for the spectators. No need to buy lunch afterwards. It's mostly the Schantles who distribute sausages, red and black.

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Etiquette: The sausage will either be stuffed into your mouth by the Schantle, or it is tied to a string like a fishing rod and you have to catch it. With your mouth. Using your hands is forbidden. When you've caught it it's yours. - No worries about hygiene - there is a new and fresh sausage for each person. No one else will bite it before or after you. The Schantle will wait until you catch it.

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Hansel and Schantle traditionally distribute, apart from sausages and sweets, oranges. Why oranges? The orange cannot be called a traditional fruit of the Neckar valley?!
We have to look back into Oberndorf's industrial history to understand. The town is home of the Mauser gun factory, which was extremely successful in the late 19th century due to a new technology they developed. One of their best clients was the Turkish army. Since the Turks had special wishes, a Turkish delegation was almost constantly present at the factory - and in town. These Turkish people became popular and friendly with the locals, so they were allowed to join the carnival parade on a carriage of their own. They ordered a load of oranges from home, dressed up and threw those oranges to the spectators. Oberndorf's jester guild
then adopted this idea and made it a local custom.

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Since carnival is a serious matter and needs law and order, the Fastnacht guild have their own policeman. Only one, though! The Narrenpolizist walks at the very end of the parade and makes lingering Schantles hurry up with his sabre. His uniform adopts, and makes fun of, the uniforms of baroque authorities.

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The Schantle band is marching at the end of the parade: They are playing accordions, drums and percussion, and some weird home-made instruments. After the parade, the Schantle band will be touring the pubs and cafes of the town. They'll play inside and receive food and drink in return. A good chance to enjoy them once more, if you're lucky to be in the right pub at the right time.

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Everything has to be earned. If you want a pretzel, orange or sausage or some sweets, the jesters will want you wither to sing the Narro march or recite one of several complicated verses in Swabian dialect. Try - they'll help, and it doesn't have to be perfect...

The Narro march goes like this (you'll pick up the melody quickly):
Oh jerum, oh jerum, die Fasnet hett a Loch,
Oh jerum, oh jerum, die Fasnet hett a Loch,
Hab kei Kreuzer Geld im Sack
Für e Päckle Rauchtabak,
Oh jerum, oh jerum, die Fasnet hett a Loch.

Oh yerum, oh yerum, the carnival has got a hole,
Oh yerum, oh yerum, the carnival has got a hole,
I don't have a penny in my pocket
For a pack of smoking tobacco,
Oh yerum, oh yerum, the carnival has got a hole.
(Doesn't make much sense, but who cares?)

Of the verses I know only one, thanks to a persistent Narro who taught it to me:
In der vordere Gass, in de hinnere Gass,
da wohnt e alde Beck.
Der streckt sei Arsch zum Fenster raus,
Mer maant, 's isch e Weck.
'S isch kaa Weck, 's isch kaa Weck,
's isch de Arsch vom Richter Beck.

In the front street, in the back street,
lives an old baker.
He sticks his a** out of the window,
You'd think it was a roll.
It is no roll, it is no roll,
It is the a** of baker Richter.
(Probably a verse mocking a - formerly - well-known unpopular personality in town.)
Swabians, feel free to correct my orthography!

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Posted by Kathrin_E 13:27 Archived in Germany Tagged alemannic_fastnacht Comments (0)

Zell am Harmersbach: Snails, Playing Cards, Corn Leaves

The Smallest Imperial City and its Fasend

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Coloured paper, cards, corn leaves or snail shells - can you imagine that these are used to make suits and hats? Of course people don't dress like this all year round. Only for three days per year the little town goes crazy...

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Zell am Harmersbach, situated in the northern Black Forest in a small side valley off Kinzig valley, is in fact hardly more than a village. The settlement may have some 5.000 inhabitants. It has, however, a proud history. Zell gained the rights of a free city in 1366 and kept this status till 1803. Zell am Harmersbach was the smallest free imperial city in the whole Holy Roman Empire. Unfortunately the old town burned down around 1900. Not much is left of Zell's glorious past except Storchenturm gate and some adjacent bits of the town walls, and the late 18th century church.

Zell's Fastnacht guild has some unique masks and costumes. In addition to them, groups from the town's eight different quarters join the parade and design their show with a lot of imagination – see the photo galleries at the end. Due to the changing mottos every year’s parade is different. Since the place is small, people all know each other and the atmosphere is familiar, relaxed and fun. This makes Zell one of my all-time favourites. I thoroughly enjoyed my so far three visits.

In local dialect the Fastnacht is called „Fasend“ (not „Fasnet“ like in most of the Black Forest).The Fasend begins on Sunday with the Awakeing of the Narro at Storchenturm. Zell's big carnival parades take place on Carnival Sunday and Tuesday.

The Four Jester Types of Zell
Obviously Zell's inhabitants had no money to buy fabric and sew costumes. They wanted to celebrate Fastnacht nevertheless, so they used the materials they had and invented some unique Häs types.

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Zell used to have paper factories, so coloured paper was the first material they tried. The Bändlenarro is covered in paper stripes in six different pastel colours. This figure is the oldest and most frequent in Zell's jester guild. Bändlenarros are equipped with pig bladders to tease the spectators. Adults and bigger kids wear wooden masks with a grinning face while small children come without masks.

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A Schneckehüslinarro's suit is entirely covered with the shells of grapevine snails (which are frequent in this region). The poor guy cannot sit down and has to be very careful about his delicate decorum.

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Welschkorn is the regional word for corn. The Welschkornnarro's Häs consists of dry corn leaves which are sewn on jacket, pants and hat.

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Playing cards are used to make the Häs and hat of the Spielkartennarro. Three varieties are possible: either common bridge/skat cards, or the old German cards, or Cego cards. Cego is a regional card game which is popular in the Black Forest, only played by men because the female brain is unable to understand the rules (or so they say *grumble*)
Spielkartennarro and Schneckehüslinarro are equipped with extending scissors.

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Before the creation of elaborate Häs types, people simply wrapped each other up in reeds. Two Schilfnarros (reed jesters) were created for this year's parade to show what they looked like.

The Awakening of the Narro
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The beginning of the Fastnacht celebrations is a goosebumping event. It begins on Carnival Sunday at 2 p.m. with the Awakening of the Narro. The year before the Narro has been buried in the 'grave' at Storchenturm. Now his resurrection marks the beginning of the three festive days.
The council of the jester guild assemble on the stage at Storchenturm. The president of the guild reads the traditional speech, invoking the Narro to return to his humble people who have been awaiting another Fasend season in their serious daily lives.
Then the tomb opens and the jesters in full Häs appear one by one. Hundreds of them arise and walk out into town to form the Sunday parade.

The Moderators
These two guys deserve an extra chapter because they are so funny. Two former members of the jester council, Manfred Lehmann and Berthold Damm, moderate the parades from the stage in front of the town hall. They give some explanations about the jester guild, the year's motto, the groups in the parade and talk a lot of silly stuff to entertain the crowd. Some grasp of the local dialect is useful to understand them. Of course those two dress up, too. Like the groups from the town they adapt to the current motto. And it seems they are not scared of anything...
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In 2009 the motto was „Cinema“. The two guys where the farmer and his wife, both in Sunday dress - Berthold became charming Bertha.
In 2010 it was „Music - from classic to rock“ and they dressed up as rockers. Hilarious. They confessed that they had borrowed the clothes from their sons.
In 2011 they were the directors of the festival house. Very elegant in tailcoats and high hats.

2009 MOTTO: CINEMA
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2010 MOTTO: MUSIC – FROM CLASSIC TO ROCK
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2011 MOTTO: FESTIVAL AT THE FESTIVAL HOUSE
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Posted by Kathrin_E 05:10 Archived in Germany Tagged alemannic_fastnacht Comments (0)

Wolfach: A Lovestory from the Black Forest

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Wolfach’s Fastnacht involves an open-air theatre performance. The so-called Festspiel takes place right after the parade in the afternoon of Carnival Monday. It is free and open-air. The stage is set up in the main street in front of the town hall. Many groups that took part in the parade appear in the play.
The tradition of such plays on Fastnacht was popular in the 18th and 19th century. It has disappeared from most places. Wolfach is the only place I know of that keeps it up. They have a handful of plays that are repeated every couple of years.
The show I got to see was a historical play about the construction of the new town wall 500 years ago. Unfortunately the wall has no gate, due to the Mayor's skintness. This causes quite some troubles. The wall is in everyone's way, the inhabitants cannot leave the town and no one can enter. And it is in the way of romance, too. The Mayor's daughter Hilda loves Wenzel the young miner but her father has other plans...

So here is the story!

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It is a sunny day in Wolfach in the year 1511. Daily life is in full swing. The busy (busy!) washerwomen are doing their laundry on the river bank. Rafters pass on Kinzig river. A group of mendicant monks arrives but isn't met with much enthusiasm.

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Everyone admires the newly built town wall along the river bank. There is only one tiny problem... the wall has no gate, so no one can enter or leave the town to reach the bridge across the river.

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This is the heroine of the play: Friedhilda, the pretty daughter of Friedrich the Mayor. Near and far she is known as Beautiful Hilda.

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Hilda loves Wenzel, the young miner, and Wenzel loves her. But they can only meet clandestinely because her father has other plans and wants a better match for his only daughter.

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The clock strikes midnight. Ghosts dance on the town wall.
Hilda and Wenzel are having a secret appointment by the river.

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But they cannot get together because there is the new wall in their way.
Hilda wants Wenzel to climb up but they cannot find a solution how. Nothing works, the rope is too short and
there is no ladder to be found. Very funny duet on the melody of „There's A Hole In The Bucket, Oh Henry, Oh Henry...“

The next day sees the inauguration of the new town wall. The Mayor has planned a festive ceremony. A squad of lansquenets - they call themselves the Thirsty Squad - march in to stand guard.

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Everyone is there except the citizens of the town: they cannot attend the ceremony on the river bank because they are behind the wall and there is no gate.
Who is responsible for this mistake? The embarrassed Mayor has to admit that he himself decided to omit the gate to save money!
What to do? Let's paint a gate onto the wall, and solve the problem later.

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The ceremony begins.
The mayor makes a speech and takes the chance to announce the engagement of his daughter Hilda with...

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... Count Konrad of Fürstenberg, the lord of Wolfach castle.

Arrrggghhh.
Poor Hilda.

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Even more so as the Count is not exactly a spring chicken any more, a notorious good-for-nothing, deep in debt and accompanied by a whole bunch of what would be called „society ladies“ nowadays - women that definitely aren't ladies.

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And poor Wenzel.
But Wenzel has supporters. The miners show up to help him and free Hilda, and with them Wenzel's mother, Ulla von der Halden, the rich owner of the ore mine.

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A very noisy fight breaks out between the miners and the lansquenets.
The Thirsty Squad end the fight quickly, though, as soon as the clock strikes twelve: Lunch break!

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Energetic and resolute Ulla von der Halden - impersonated by a big strong guy - interferes on behalf of her son. She tells the Mayor a couple of unpleasant truths about the Count, who prefers to disappear.
For example, that the Count has donated the stones for the town wall but the stones are from her quarry and the 'donator' has never paid for them.
The embarrassed Mayor does not know what to do.

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The miners check the town wall to find out how to make a gate but without success.

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Hilda declares her eternal love to Wenzel in a heart-rending song.

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The song ends in a high-pitched note that makes the stones crumble from the wall and creates a gate.
The Mayor's biggest problem is solved. He grants his daughter a wish.
Hilda says, of course, „Father, let me marry Wenzel.“
Much hmmm and hah and having Ulla von der Halden in the family... but her father finally says yes.
Ulla gives the stones of the wall to her son as dowry.
Happy end! *Sniff*

Wolfach’s Colourful and Busy Fastnacht

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Wolfach is one of the busiest places in the Alemannic Fastnacht: In the run of eight days they have twelve parades in their little town, and they still find time to join parades in neighbouring towns.

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On Carnival Monday in the wee hours of the morning, at 5:30 a.m. to be exact, the town is awakened by the Wohlauf song. In fact, everyone is already awake because they are all out in the street, but anyway... The Wohlauf singer is rolled along in a huge bed and accompanied by hundreds of jesters in white nightshirts. Every now and then they stop, everyone goes quiet, and the Wohlauf rises from the bed to sing his song. The yellow and blue Schellenhansel and the white Mehlwurmhansel has a picture of the Wohlauf singer on the front of his jacket.
I have not yet seen it myself but friends who have assured me that it is goosebumping. No light is permitted in the street except the jesters' lanterns and everyone has to wear white. So, lookers-on, if you are in civilian dress, hide in a corner.

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The biggest parade, though, is the one of Monday afternoon, starting at 14:00. The jesters assemble outside the castle gate and then parade along the main street to the bridge and along the other river bank to the jester fountain. The Free Jester Guild of Wolfach leads the parade. First there is the Gullerreiter (cock rider), then the Hansel in their colourful costumes. The Walnusshansel, covered in walnut shells, form an extra group, also the Rungunkeln with the old wives mill. Right after the parade the Festspiel is performed on the open-air stage in front of the town hall. Another reason to come on Monday. All the groups that participate in the Festspiel also take part in the parade. Then there are other jester guilds from the surrounding villages and towns, some Gugge bands even from Switzerland, groups and clubs from the village.
Wolfach does not attract as huge crowds as the more famous destinations, which is pleasant. The streets are lively but the number of spectators is bearable and you'll easily find a spot with good visibility.

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Gullerreiter, the Cock Rider, marches at the beginning of the parade.

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The colourful crowd involves five different Hansel figures.
Streifenhansel is, as the name indicates, striped.
The blue and yellow Schellenhansel have little bells all ofer their suit and headcover.

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Mehlwurmhansel - white as a flour worm
Röslehansel has a rose painted on the forehead.
A Spättlehansel with a Häs made of colourful pieces of fabric.

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Walnusshansel‘s' Häs is covered in walnut shells from head to toe. They march as a separate group.

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Having an Altweibermühle is all older men's dream, right? A mill they can put their old women through and turn them into young girls.
The cart with the mill is taken along during parades by the Rungunkeln, as the witches in Wolfach name themselves. Never call them Hexen. A witch is stuffed into the opening at the top (or pretended to do so). From the slide in the back, young girls emerge. (The girls are caught from the crowd, taken into the cart and sent down the slide.)

On Tuesday at dusk in the afternoon the „Nose Parade“ marches through the town. The participants wear fancy wooden noses, and their jackets inside out. They make noise on all kinds of instruments. Only men are allowed to participate – any female intruder can expect to be thrown into the fountain regardless of weather and temperature.

Ash Wednesday is the day of grief. Wolfach‘s men dress up as for a funeral, wash their purses at the fountain and then march to the - tax authority office presenting their empty purses and shedding a lot of tears.

Posted by Kathrin_E 12:59 Archived in Germany Tagged germany carnival baden-württemberg wolfach alemannic_fastnacht Comments (0)

Freiburg im Breisgau: 35 Guilds and Counting

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Freiburg hast he biggest and most varied parade in the whole of Baden-Württemberg. The city itself is home to 35 (thirty-five) jester guilds, called Narrennester. All of them organize their own event, but on Carnival Monday at 14.00 they're all taking part in one big parade through the city centre. Then there are the independent guilds from the suburbs. And even more: they invite other guilds and Guggemusik bands from all over Baden-Württemberg to participate, every year there are different guest guilds. Usually there are 100-120 groups in the parade.

An excellent opportunity to get an overview about those many, many varieties of nowadays' Alemannic Fastnacht. I highly recommend a visit to Freiburg to „beginners“ because you get to see so many different guilds in one parade. Bring a camera, and be there at least half an hour, better 45 minutes earlier to get a place in the front row at the rails. Be prepared for confetti attacks and similar.

Münsterplatz is the most spectacular setting to watch the parade – on the other hand it is also the most crowded. My personal favourite spot is the little square at Schwabentor, named Oberlinden. Stand on the outer side of the curve by the fountain for the best view. The parade begins right here, with the participants marching through the gate tower into the old town, which means you don’t have to wait long. This is the first wider opening that they reach, so those who have a little show to put on will do so here.

The 35 guilds form an association called Breisgauer Narrenzunft (BNZ). Each of the guilds does its own carnival programme but the association keeps them together and organizes some central events - like the big parade on Carnival Monday. The variety of masks and costumes among the member guilds is enormous. Many of these guilds have their origins in sports clubs or choirs, neighbourhood communities and such who some day decided that they wanted to join in the Fasnet, invented a figure, had themselves a Häs designed, and founded a guild.

Freiburg has a carnival already earlier, but its history as a centre of Alemannic Fastnacht actually begins only in the 1930s. The four oldest guilds were granted the honourable status of „Erznarren“ (Archjesters). A representant of each walks at the beginning of the parade with the BNZ guild sign. These four are Fasnetrufer, Herdermer Lalli, Blaue Narren and Oberwiehrer Kindsköpf.

Each year one of the thirty-five is chosen as Protectorate Guild. They have to organize the parade. In return they receive the position of honour and the big truck at the beginning of the parade. Next year’s protectorate guild marches at the very end of the parade.

Here come the BNZ guilds.

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Bächleputzer
Bächleputzer were a historical profession that really existed. They were responsible for the cleaning of the little canals that run through most streets in Freiburg’s old town.

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Blaue Narre
The first „Blue Jester“ showed up in 1938. Blaue Narre wear a blue Häs covered in Blätzle, small pieces of fabric, with a hood, a silver mask and belts with round bells. The Parents of the Guild (Narreneltern) accompany the group, pushing an old pram.

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Bobbili
Bobbili is an old nickname of Freiburg's citizens - for reasons unknown to me. The Bobbili guild has created this cute red and white Häs. The umbrella is an essential part of it.

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Bohrer Zunft
The Bohrer (Drillers) are from the suburb of Günterstal. They are connected with a local happening: About 100 years ago the Günterstalers dreamend of turning their village into a wealthy spa town, and started drilling for thermal springs with healing waters, but they never found any.

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Elferrat
Deriving from carnival traditions of the Rhineland type, Freiburg's jester guild still has the Elferrat (Council of the Eleven). In fact there are two of them: the Ladies' and the Men's Council. Their function is mostly representative.

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Fasnetrufer
The Fasnetrufer (Fasnet callers) Häs was designed in 1934 as the new alemannic jester to represent Freiburg. The beaautiful Häs consists of several hundreds of heart-shaped pieces of felt in all colors of the rainbow. The big leather belt bears the crest of the city. The Fasnetrufer's instrument is a wooden ratchet. They make a lot of noise...

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Feuer-Narren
The Feuer-Narren (fire jesters) wear a red and black Häs with flames protruding from the mask. I have to admit, though, that I need a bit of imagination to recognize them as flames. Tom e they look more like pointed ears.

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Freiburger Hexen
The witch guild was founded in the 1960s, based on an ancient legend. According to that, witches assembled to dance on the shores of a nearby little lake. Their most striking feature is the unique mask with its twisted nose and insect eyes.

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Friburger Glunki
The Glunki first tried to introduce the tradition of Hemdglunker parades in white nightshirts. In 1971 they changed the nightshirt for a real Häs in orange, red and black. The Glunki are always good for fun. Their four-seater bicycle-car is always with them.

Fuhrleute
This guild originated from a much older men’s choir. Originally they were night watchmen. But all their material burned to ashes in the air raid of 1944. After the war they created a new Häs and became Fuhrleute (wagoners).
Sorry – this is the only guild I have no photo of!

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Gigili-Geister
This funny ghost comes from a suburb of Freiburg. There they have an old tower that served as prison in former times. The ghost recalls the prisoners peeping through the small metal-grilled windows. Each of them carries a little grill.

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Haslacher Dickköpf
Haslach, a village southwest of Freiburg (not to be confused with the town of the same name in the Kinzig valley which I have already described), belonged to the Margraviate of Baden until 1889 and its population is mostly protestant. Nevertheless somem members of the local sports club founded a jester nest already in 1934. Haslach's inhabitants are said to be stubborn and have thick heads. In accordance with their nickname and image the guild members appeared with oversized paper-mâchée heads like the ones that exist in the Rhineland carnival, for example in Mainz. In later times more figures were added: the fat lady in the blue and white dress and a group of men in their Sunday best who are after her.

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Herdermer Lalli
The Herdermer Lalli guild is a little older than the Fasnetrufer. In 1930 a group of men founded the guild in the suburb of Herdern. Their forst Häs depicted a rather dumb-looking peasant. In 1934 they were forced to change it because the Nazi government would not tolerate any 'mocking of the rural community'. Their Häs now consists of black pants and a vest with bells, a red shirt and a scarf decorated with a horseshoe, a black pointed cap and a fox tail which is attached to the shoulder. The lolling tongue of the mask gave them their name.

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Käsrieber
The blue and red Käsrieber (cheese graters) wear the matching kitchen device as epaulettes. Their faces are pale as cheese. They have to do with the mocking nickname of the inhabitants in the suburb of Unterwiehre.

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Miau-Zunft
The cat is one of the most popular animal figures in the Alemannic Fastnacht. The guild emphasize that their cat costumes are made from artificial, not real cat fur.

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Mooskrotten
The Mooskrotten (moss toads) are funny laughing amphibians. They are at home in the village of Hochdorf which is surrounded by wet meadows and floodland forest. Frogs and toads are frequent along the waterflows and ponds.

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Mooswaldwiibli
In the modern suburb of Landwasser west of Freiburg, people founded their own jester guild in the 1970s. Since the floodplain forests are close where knowledgeable old women used to collect herbs and berries, they created such a figure, the Mooswaldwiibli, a friendly old woman.

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Münsterstadt-Narren
The Münsterstadt.Narren have an interesting historical background. At the Münster church, there is a medieval sculpture of a jester serving as a gargoyle. This sculpture was taken as archetype to create this costume. So this is the medieval appearance of jesters. Nobody knows what this cone shaped leather device he is carrying on his shoulder is actually supposed to be or mean - but nobody really cares.

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Oberwiehre Kindsköpf
The members of a Stammtisch in the Oberwiehre suburb decided in 1936 to join the Fasnet parade, dressed up as babies. They ordered a dozen or so paper-mâchée masks, type „Baby“, from a costume supplier. Dressed in long nightshirts, the Kindsköpf (babyheads, also a word for silly childish people) appeared at the parade. In the 1950s they decided upon a new, more 'alemannic' Häs with a red bib overall and red and white polka-dot shirts. A couple of years ago they changed it to the present red and white Blätzlehäs.
During the parade on the 75th anniversary of the BNZ in 2009, a Kindskopf appeared in the historical 1930s outfit with the long white nightshirt, straw shoes and the old mask. He carries a pacifier and a potty.

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Ranzengarde Concordia and Reitercorps
The Ranzengarde with both troops on foot and on horseback and a band already took part in the carnival parades of the late 19th century, so they are the oldest group in Freiburg's Fastnacht. They wear military uniforms but have always understood themselves as a parody on the 'real' armed forces.

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Reblauszunft
Rebläuse (grape phylloxera) refer to viticulture which is an important branch of agriculture in and around Freiburg. The invasion of these insects caused a catastrophe for the wineries all over central Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century (1913 in Baden). Planting resistant vines solved the problem. Freiburg's cute Rebläuse, however, won't harm the plants because they like wine too much...

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Ribblinghieler
The Ribblinghieler are big crying toddlers. The guild's motto is, „Musch net hiele, d'Mame nimmt di“ (No need to cry, Mummy will take you). Ribbling is a local word for marbles. The Ribblinghieler is a blond little boy who is crying because the others took all his marbles in the game. 'Crying about lost marbles' has become proverbial for being upset about nothing.
Yours truly is wondering, though, why adults want to be crying toddlers....

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Scherbenzunft
The Stühlinger quarter used to be nicknamed “Scherbenviertel“ for unknown reasons. The jester guild picked up the nickname and created the colourful Scherben (pieces of broken pottery). Scherben is also the name of a popular type of pastry which is only made and eaten during the carnival season.

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Schlossberggeister
The Ghosts of Castle Hill appear in an old legend. According to that they once freed the city from a deadly disease. The friendly ghosts wear a Häs in the changing colours of the forest. The little pieces of fabric have the shape of beech leaves.

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Schnogedätscher
The guild was founded already in the 1930s, but only fter the war they created their Häs. Schnogedätscher means Mosquito Beaters and refers to the vicinity of the Rhine floodlands, which are inhabited by billions of these obnoxious insects.

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Sioux West
The Sioux West, at home in the Western suburbs of Freiburg, are the most unusual aamong the 35 guilds, but they are fully recognized as members of Breisgauer Narrenzunft, participate in all parades and even were protectorate guild in 2005. They are a group of people who want to relive Indian life, learn about them and make clothing, tools and festivities as authentically as possible after the example of America's real native people. They own a piece of land in the forest with a hut and a fireplace etc. where they meet all year round. Fastnacht is just one activity among many others.

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Tannenzapfen
The Tannenzapfen (fir cone) guild refers to the nearby Black Forest and its most typical tree. The Häs and headcover are made from modern materials, not to everybody's liking: the shining brown shingles consist of plastic.

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Turmsträsslerinnen
The guild of the Turmsträsslerinnen asccepts women only. They refer to a true story that happened in 1756. Two grain merchants from Freiburg had shot a hare beyond the border in Baden's territory, which was against the law, and were arrested in Emmendingen. After tedious negotiations the magistrate of Freiburg got the two guys back and imprisoned them in the tower. Angry citizens wanted them free. While the men had nothing but a big mouth, the prisoners' wives and other women decided that time had come for drastic action. Armed with pitchforks and axes, the women broke into the tower and freed the prisoners.

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Waldseematrosen
Far away from the sea, the Waldseematrosen (forest lake sailors) probably sail, or dream of sailing, a little pond somewhere in the surroundings of Freiburg. Their 'ship' is a horse-drawn carriage... The group is more than a century old. Around 1900 the Waldsee, a small lake near Freiburg, became a popular Sunday destination. Already in 1901 the Waldsee sailors presented a big sailing boat in the carnival parade. They have decided on purpose not to wear masks according to alemannic traditition but to show their true faces.

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Westhansele
The Westhansele from the western suburbs wear a colourful Häs made of patterned fabric leftovers.

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Wetterhexen e.V. Freiburg
Wetterhexen (weather witches) are the second witch guild in Freiburg. Witches are always good for some fun, like piling up in the middle of the street or starting a friendly fight...

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Wühlmäuse
The Wühlmäuse (voles) carry extending scissors that enable them to grab and take an unsuspecting spectator's hat several metres away.

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Zähringer Burgnarren
A table-tennis team were the founders of Zähringer Burgnarren (Castle Jesters). They refer to medieval history and the dynasty of the Zähringer, legendary ancestors of the Marggraves of Baden and founders of the city of Freiburg, who had their first castle in the Freiburg suburb of the same name. Thes created a court jester in red and yellow, the colours of the Baden flag and coat of arms.

Posted by Kathrin_E 02:58 Archived in Germany Tagged alemannic_fastnacht Comments (0)

Weil am Rhein: Burefasnet One Week Later Than Everyone Else

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Weil am Rhein is a small town which is only known for being the last settlement on the German side before the border on the way to Basel. Many people who work in Basel live here because it is cheaper.

The place has one top: Vitra Design Museum with its remarkable modern buildings designed by architects like Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.

Otherwise the town is hardly worth a visit - the old village centre is quite nice but not a top sight – except once a year...

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Weil, like Basel, celebrates its carnival one week later than the usual carnival date. The Burefasnet („peasant carnival“) date is actually the older Fastnacht date.
How come? The Lent is officially 40 days. When counting from Ash Wednesday to Easter you end up with 46 days, not 40. At some point in history the catholic church decided that Sundays are holidays and shall not be counted as fasting days, so the duration of the Lent is counted as 40 days plus 6 Sundays. Protestant Basel and other parts of Northwestern Switzerland refused to join and stuck with the old date, 40 days before Easter including the Sundays. This also spread to the right bank of the Rhine, the Markgräflerland on the German side close to Basel.

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Weil's main parade takes place on Invocavit Sunday, six weeks before Easter and one day before Basler Morgestraich, at 2 p.m. Many jester guilds from near and far in Baden-Württemberg come to join in the parade. After doing their own activities on the 'main' carnival weekend they are happy to have one more event and one more party weekend before everything is over for good.

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Kids will receive lots of sweets. Adults should be prepared for lots of confetti. I have rarely gone through and observed as many nasty confetti attacks anywhere else as in Weil. This involves rubbing a person's face and hair with an handful of confetti and stuffing it into the collar and underneath the clothes. Confetti does not hurt but having a load inside your underwear is not that pleasant...

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Hex a Traffic Sign

A story from Weil

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- What happened to this sign? Why is it down on the ground?
- It belongs up there to the top of the pole indeed. A strange accident happened to it. There was some idiot who…

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During the Burefasnet parade a witch, who was up to some pranks, climbed the pole and sat on top of the sign.
The sign was not made for carrying riders and the fastening was not solid enough.
Both the sign and the witch tumbled to the ground...
(The witch fell and rolled like an experienced judoka and wasn't injured, no worries. Otherwise I would not make fun of the story.)
Moral of story: Witches should ride broomsticks, not signposts.

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Reattaching the sign was not that easy. The witch guild will probably face a little bill from the community of Weil for the repair.
The guy in the neon yellow vest is the 'watchdog' who was in charge of this part of the parade.

The fallen sign then served as deck chair for tired jesters, while the signpost was popular for pole dancing.

Posted by Kathrin_E 02:00 Archived in Germany Tagged carnival baden-württemberg alemannic_fastnacht Comments (2)

Schwäbisch Gmünd: Guggemusik Festival

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"Überdruck", a local band from Schwäbisch Gmünd

Schwäbisch Gmünd is a small town in the Rems valley east of Stuttgart, relatively unimportant nowadays. Until 1803, however, it was a free imperial city. Its old public buildings still show the pride and ambition that goes with this status.
Once per year Schwäbisch Gmünd is ruled by brass and drums played by people in strange masks and vestments. During the annual Guggemusik festival, some 20 top class Gugge bands from near and far play on stage and in the streets. They will smash the ear drums of any 'serious' musician but it is just... gorgeous.

What I said above about Guggemusik is only partly true for these ambitious, semi-professional bands. Their music may sound messy and coincidental but is in fact well practised and rehearsed. To give you a better impression there should be videos here, but I don’t have an account to upload them, sorry.

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The annual Guggemusik festival takes place in the squares of Schwäbisch Gmünd on one weekend before carnival, usually in late January or early February – check the town's website for the exact date, it will be published a couple of weeks earlier. The festival begins on Friday evening with the Guggenball (tickets needed). Saturday is the best day for visitors. In the morning the Narrenbaum (jester tree) is erected in front of the town hall. After the official reception by the mayor, the 20 participating bands will play all afternoon on the stages in Marktplatz and Johannisplatz and also in the streets and pubs. At 6 p.m. the Monster Concert begins on both stages. On Sunday, the main event takes place inside the sports hall in Katharinenstraße: the Guggemusikfrühschoppen with all the bands and a lot of music, noise and drinking till late afternoon (entrance fee).

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During the afternoon of Saturday, the two stages in Marktplatz and Johannisplatz are busy non-stop. The bands march in from the right, play a couple of songs on stage, then leave to the left while the next band is already waiting on the other side.

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Two bands from Schwäbisch Gmünd participated in the Guggemusik festival: Gassapfetza ("Alley Smashers") and Überdruck ("overpression"). I assume that these groups were also involved with the organization of the festival. As locals they had their fans in the crowd and put on a big show. Their music is as flamboyant as the colour... These bands are N-O-I-S-Y... I was standing front and center next to the stage, which was great for taking photos and video but hard labour for my eardrums.

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Tschäddärä (name untranslatable) is a band form Lörrach, situated on the German side of the Rhine but very close to Basel. They showed up as devilish gangsters. Their conductor has angel's wings on his back but otherwise does not look too angelic either...
Drums and percussion are mounted on little two-wheeled carts which are connected with the player's belt so that he pushes the cart when walking and has the hands free for drumming.

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After the intro piece conductor and musicians take their heads off. It's easier for them to move and play without, although not as impressive for the spectators. At the end of the show the heads are put on again.

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Despite their Robin Hood outfit, Les Pampana's are not from Sherwood Forest but from Cudrefin in the French speaking part of Switzerland.

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Guggemusik is even known in Britain! The fancy musical Beefeaters of Frumptarn Barnsley Guggenband from Barnsley, UK

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The Mühlbach-Bazis from Eggingen had the most imaginative masks and dresses. Afterwards I learned that they in fact won the prize for the best outfit at the festival!

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Rondo Bellinziano have used and italianized the name of their home town: noooo... they are from Bad Bellingen in the south of Baden, not far from Basel.
To me, they had the best sound of all the bands I listened to that day.

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Saubachgugga is a small, probably local band of about 10 or 12 musicians. They were not part of the official programme and did not get a space on stage. They simply came and played in the streets to be there and participate in the fun, and they were not the only ones.

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"Kehrwoch'" - A Swabian Virtue
We even observe one of the most cherished Swabian virtues: "Kehrwoch'" refers to the weekly cleaning duty, which takes turns among the inhabitants of a house. It is a Swabian custom which is taken very seriously. On Saturday, the alley has to be swept no matter what. This applies under all circumstances, even if it concerns a stage where a band of 30 Gugge musicians is playing right now...
(Seriously, he was cleaning the stage because it was full of muddy snow and thus dangerously slippery.)

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Still Life Off Stage
Photographers, have your cameras ready if you come across a band who are having a break and have dumped their masks and instruments outside a pub. You may discover one or the other fantastic unintended still life. (Don't touch anything, though.) Here is a collection of my favouriste shots.

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Posted by Kathrin_E 04:11 Archived in Germany Tagged music festival carnival baden-württemberg alemannic_fastnacht Comments (0)

Karlsruhe: Big City Woes

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Carnival in protestant Karlsruhe doesn't have an original tradition. Today's carnival consists of imported Rheinland style carnival clubs, and some guilds from the Catholic villages south of the Alb who do Alemannic Fastnacht. The result is a mix which isn't really convincing. Two big parades take place in the city during carnival: one in Durlach on Sunday and one in Karlsruhe Centre on Tuesday.

The main carnival parade takes place on carnival Tuesday afternoon from 2 p.m. and runs through Marktplatz, Kaiserstraße and Karlstraße. Since no barriers keep the crowds out, the huge carriages get stuck every couple of metres, and the parade takes AGES. Some decorated carriages show inspiration, very few are actually funny, most are just trucks with painted canvas cover On the trucks you see guys in jester caps and girls in guard uniforms, dressed in the respective club's colours according to Rhineland traditions, who throw sweets into the crowd. The tiny alemannic groups in between seem rather lost.

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In spite of all this the streets of Karlsruhe see a hundred thousand or more spectators that day. I wonder why. It is, sorry to say this, about the most boring parade I have ever seen. Since there are no railings along most of the route and people push to get at the sweets thrown, the passage is narrow and the huge trucks get stuck. The parade takes ages and there are huge gaps between the groups. From Marktplatz to Stephansplatz (usually a 10 minute walk) the parade needs about an hour. Check the route the parade takes (newspaper, internet, programme leaflets) and stand in a location as close to the starting point as possible to avoid waiting for ages.

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A few theme wagons are dealing with local politics. This one is about Europabad, the new pool and spa in Karlsruhe which has been opened in 2008 and caused heaps of trouble, and costs. Political messages, if they are there at all, are rarely witty or funny.

The Sunday parade in Durlach, also beginning at 2 p.m., is shorter and better organized. Presentations are, however, more or less the same as in Karlsruhe, perhaps there are more groups in Alemannic style.

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Alemannic groups marching in the parade

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A private group with some imagination... The ladies dressed as dishwashing detergent bottles. In the 1970's Pril, a well-known German brand, came in such blue bottles with a red tap and two flower stickers on each bottle. In those times almost everyone had these stickers „Prilblumen“) in their kitchen to decorate tiles or cupboard doors.

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Tribute to Daxlanden

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Daxlanden is a suburb in the southwest of the city with a catholic tradition since it historically belonged to the Margraviate of Baden-Baden. Daxlanden is famous for its parade on Carnival Saturday. They have a large jester guild in the suburb itself, invite neighbouring guilds, and there are always many big and small groups from the suburb, from kindergarten to bowling clubs and office staff, who come up with a topic and dress up and maybe even design a small cart. This parade, which is one of the few that happen on Saturday, has always been popular in the whole city.

I have taken these photos in 2016. At that time nobody neither knew nor expected that this would have been the last carnival parade in Daxlanden.

Since 2017, the Daxlanden parade is no more. The reasons for the cancellation are safety reasons, in other words, problems concerning alcohol and garbage. In the previous year some juvenile idiots organized a „flashmob“ and hundreds of drunk youths messed up the celebrations. Afterwards the city has set new safety regulations which are impossible to fulfil for a suburban jester guild. So they cancelled the parade for good. No one knows if Daxlanden’s street carnival will ever see a revival.

This is the biggest problem in and around the large city. There is no real tradition and thus neither knowledge nor respect. The youngsters come for booze and party. They have no interest in the parades and local events. In the Black Forest everyone knows what Fastnacht means and how precious and expensive a Häs is. Many city people have no clue and no care. „Party“ means no more than getting drunk and causing trouble, and who cares about the rest of the world. Because of that widespread rowdyness I restrain myself from visiting the smaller parades in the villages around the city. I had long wanted to see the famous Nachtumzug (night parade) in Grötzingen, another suburb. It's too late, though. In regard of the rising problems and readiness for violence and vandalism, for five years the Grötzingen guild have substituted it with a daytime parade.

Here is a photo gallery in memoriam Daxlander Fasnet:

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Posted by Kathrin_E 15:30 Archived in Germany Tagged carnival karlsruhe baden-württemberg alemannic_fastnacht Comments (0)

Bühl: Clean Your Candle

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Bühler Lichtputzer

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Jester tree in front of church and town hall

This blog entry is special, because the photos are just a few hours old. We are in the middle of the High Days 2017. There is still some leftover confetti stuck in my hair while I am writing this. In Bühl they are certainly partying all night.

Bühl is a small town in the Upper Rhine Plain, just south of Baden-Baden. It belongs to the Ortenau, which is a wine and fruit growing region at the foot of the Black Forest. This is not one of the big Fasnet centres, but one where this festival is thriving and developing well.

I came to Bühl because of a silly coincidence. I was asked for help identifying two photos of a carnival parade in the 1970s that were found in our city archive. One showed a witch, the other a jester figure with a tool that looked like an oversized pair of scissors but strangely deformed. With a bit of serendipity and patient searching, I came across the jester guild of Bühl – strike! Now I wanted to see them in real life.

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Bühl’s guild Narrhalla Bühl 1826 e.V. holds the main parade on Sunday afternoon. My impression ist hat they are sort of a roof organization for the several jester guilds in Bühl. The Narrendaddel, a single figure, leads the parade. Hemdglunkerle in white nightshirts, Quetschedeufel („plum devils“), Schrättle, Rebgeister („vine spirits“) and two witch guilds are all at home in Bühl.

The oldest carnival tradition is connected with the Lichtputzer („candle cleaners“) guild and dates back to the year 1534. Historical reports from the 16th century tell of a certain baker, a notorious drunkard and jester, who would note all happenings throughout the year in his book and then, during the carnival days, roam the village pubs together with is companions and hold a jester court. Scissors were used to cut the candlewick so that the person’s „light could burn more brightly from now on“ – symbolically, of course. The Lichtputzer Häs was invented in the 1970s as a revival of this tradition. They carry oversized models of those special scissors that were used to cut candlewicks in former times.

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Plum and Pear

Bühl has been the namesake of the famous Bühler Zwetschgen, a species of blue plums, similar to damson plums but not the same. These fruit are popular because they are tasty and easy to cultivate, and because there are so many uses for them in the kitchen. They make a great topping for cakes, they make woderful jam and plum puree, they can be dried, used for sauces, and for schnapps making (Zwetschgenwasser). Of course these fruit are alive and present in Bühl’s carnival parade. A guild from neighbouring Neusatz, named Niesatzer Hurzle, have created two fruit figures, the plum and the pear. Thus blue and green are their colours.

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Dozens of guilds from the small villages in the northern part of the Ortenau, around Rastatt and Baden-Baden come to Bühl to join the parade. A place like this shows how lively the Fasnet tradition is, with new guilds forming all the time and new figures being designed. Witches are particularly popular.

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In addition to the Fasnet guilds, many groups, clubs, teams, companies, schools from Bühl and surroundings are taking part. Some local issues are addressed, too. In Bühl the church bells, respective the question whether they should toll the hours at night or not, divide public opinion into two parties.

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While one side likes and wants the ringing of the bells, the other side wants undisturbed sleep. The priest (the real one) is keeping out of the discussion, he marches ahead with a sign saying, „Not my business“ and „I don‘t care“.

A scene that made us all laugh… A huge cart with a confetti cannon on top arrived. The guy at the cannon spotted an open window on the first floor and, sitting in the window, one of his mates he obviously knew well. He aimed and shot a full load of confetti into his mate’s living room. (Moral of story: Beware of your friends...)

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Allda Esel from Kappelwindeck – funny donkeys.

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The flail dance: This guild’s Häs represents farmers from former times. The flail is their accessoure. They form a row with the flails on their shoulders, and one by one dive underneath the flails from front to back. The witch is an intruder.

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Dreizipfeleshansele from Achern - one of the prettiest figures I ever saw.

PICTURE GALLERY:
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On the train back home I found myself among a horde of red and black devils whom I had seen in the parade. They came from a village near Rastatt – the Saubergteufel from Ottenau. Other passengers and I talked to some of them. They were good fun. It must be really cool to go on tour with a whole bunch of friends like they do.

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From witch with love

Posted by Kathrin_E 14:56 Archived in Germany Tagged festival carnival traditions baden-württemberg alemannic_fastnacht Comments (0)

Offenburg: Witch Food and a Funeral

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Tuesday afternoon in Offenburg is nourishing indeed. The main event is called „Hexenfraß“ (Witch Food). The local witch guild feed children and also big people with smoked sausages and rolls. These are thrown down into the crowd from the windows and balconies of the houses around the main square.

This event came into existence in the first carnival season after the end of World War II, during the French occupation. The military governor had banned any street carnival and announced that any witch, any jester who appeared in the streets would immediately be arrested. The witch guild bowed, „Oui, bien sûr, Monsieur!“, but secretly they put their thinking caps on. The governor had said „dans la rue“, but he had said nothing about windows on the first floor…

So the guild members picked up their courage and their masks and outfits, dressed up inside the houses and made their appearance in the windows. The French military had enough sense of humour to accept and respect their chuzpah. The ban has obviously long been lifted but the witches keep up the custom.

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Offenburg is the birthplace of the Witch as a figure in the Alemannic Fastnacht. In 1933, not earlier than that as explained above, the first witches appeared in Offenburg’s parade. Three years later, in 1936, the first witch guild (Hexenzunft) was founded in Offenburg. In other words, in the middle of the Nazi era, which may explain why the post-war French government was so restrictive about the street carnival.

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There is another, older guild in Offenburg that call themselves „Althistorische Narrenzunft“. Their main figure is the Spättle, a colourful figure covered in little patches of fabric from head to toe, sporting a laughing face. The guild also includes a (mock-)military guard with a miniature cannon, the military brass band, the „Alde“, i. e. Old Offenburg Lady in Biedermeier dress and a painted textile mask, the black Dominos, and a couple of single figures.

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They make their grand appearance, marking the end of the street carnival, right after the witches have fed everyone and retreated from the windows. Then the Althistorische march in and assemble for the Funeral of the Fastnacht. First they hand out sweet buns in the shape of a cross to the spectators. Then comes the sad part. The Spättle put on black cloaks and everyone is very very sad while the final speech is done and the jester flag taken down.

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A crying Spättle fell into my arms. „Oh, this is sad, the Fasnet is over, this is sooooo sad…“ I had to comfort her, LOL. We figured out together that Easter will come soon, then we’ll all go on our summer holidays, and then it’s already almost Christmas and right after Christmas the next Fasnet season is about to begin, so it is already almost Fasnet again…

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Posted by Kathrin_E 02:10 Archived in Germany Tagged festival traditions baden-württemberg alemannic_fastnacht Comments (1)

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