Carnival in Gengenbach ©Tourist Info Gengenbach Im Winzerhof (H. Erhardt)
Jan 15, 2018

Wild and authentic – this is the Swabian-Alemannic carnival

Every year, one of Germany's oldest festivals keeps alive local tradition and heritage in the most magical way.

If you happen to be in south-west Germany in February, you might experience Fasnet, the Swabian-Alemannic carnival, in full swing. A firm favourite since the 13th century, Fasnet is always held around the seventh weekend before Easter. It is celebrated in several communities in Baden-Württemberg and offers locals and visitors an unforgettable spectacle. This is the time when the region's revellers take over. Processions of witches, devils and federahannes – a type of dancing fool typical of the region – make their way through the towns and villages of the Black Forest, much to the delight of the people lining the streets. Some of the oldest and most famous processions take place in Villingen, Oberndorf and Elzach. On Carnival Monday and Tuesday, some 4,000 fools wearing carved masks parade into the town of Rottweil via the Black Gate to the sounds of brass bands and fanfares.

Dancing, music and magical costumes

With more than 130 processions, the traditional waking up of witches and dancing fools, and many other festive customs, including balls, Kinzigtal is one of the carnival hotspots in the Black Forest. No matter how cold the winter is, there is plenty to keep you warm – from sausages and mulled wine to dancing and swaying along to the music in the bars. An unmistakeable feature of the carnival are the impressive hand-painted costumes and old wooden masks, some of which have been in the same family for generations. This unique custom was even added to UNESCO's Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014. The street carnival is held every year from 8 to 14 February. For further information, visit www.schwarzwald-tourismus.info.