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Farewell to winter

The 3 must-see carnival parades in South Tyrol

The original idea behind Carnival was to drive out winter. In villages up and down the land, people meet, walk through the streets together and focus on ancient customs in order to drive away the cold, dark time of year along with all its demons, and to awaken the spring and bring fertility back to the fields. But...if we are to be honest with ourselves, the prime reason for carnival is to let loose a little! And we have picked out the three craziest carnival processions in South Tyrol for you!

The 'Zussl' are out and about in Prato allo Stelvio!

The Zussl race in Prato allo Stelvio is one of the most long-established Carnival traditions that South Tyrol has to offer. Men dressed in white and colourfully embroidered costumes with flowers on them – the 'Zussl' – charge through the streets of the village. They have cow bells attached to their bellies clanging away for all they're worth. This is meant to banish winter and evil demons once and for all - not just waking up nature from its slumbers, but positively rattling it awake! In Prato allo Stelvio there are 'Maschgern' about at carnival time, too. These are odd couples, who, led by a figure called 'Bajaz', go from inn to inn with the aim of getting served.

You can witness these colourful goings-on in Vinschgau Valley on Carnival Thursday! There are private hosts to be found nearby, of course.

Crazy goings-on in Nova Levante

'Fasching in Schuffa' has been taking place for over 50 years. This year, in 2018, it starts on 8rd February, when 'Schuffener' have a week romping around the squares and streets of this village in Eggental Valley in true carnival style involving bright, comical costumes! Nearly a week later, on Mardi Gras, the big parade takes place: artistically-fashioned floats and imaginatively-dressed people dance through the village to vibrant music. At the end of the Carnival proceedings, the prize for the most impressive costume is awarded, after which the winners and lots more party on into the night in the village hall! By the way, 'Schuffa' is originally a traditional farm dairy dish!

If you dare to be there for a week's Carnival celebrations, then think about staying with a private host in Welschnofen-Nova Levante!

The Egetmann procession in Tramin-Termeno

Last but not least, the procession to crown all 'Fasching' – or 'Maschgra' – processions! The Egetmann procession! Every other year (the Egetmann procession only takes place in odd years) over 10,000 people follow the call of the councillors, the snapping of the 'Schnappviecher' critters, also known as 'Wudelen', and the clattering of rusty tractors pulling the floats through the village of Tramin-Termeno, Every other year, on Mardi Gras, Egetmann Hansl – a dummy to represent a middle-aged man – invites guests to his wedding.The menfolk of Tramin-Termeno then set about 'terrorising' the the wine village on their rustic old carts. You can meet fishermen, tinkers, wheelwrights, old and rich gypsies, and many, many more presenting their handiwork in honour of Egetmann Hansl and making a right old racket at the same time. Buzzing around them are the soot-blackened figures of 'Burgl' and 'Burgltreiber' and the white and the green bear representing winter and spring, who charge through the village for hours on end. So it was in 1591 – and so it is today.They're off their heads, these natives of Tramin-Termeno! Once again, on 05th February 2019, you have the chance to make a it date in your diary, or wait for another two years! A small tip from us: don't wear any white, valuable or new clothes! ;) Better to leave them at your accommodation with a nearby private host.

And yet more Carnival, 'Fasching', 'Maschgra' or by whatever name it goes:
On Carnival Thursday, a masked torchlit walk takes place in Innichen-San Candido, when crocodiles, pirates and clowns take over the ski pistes. There's also something going on in Terlan-Terlano on that day: colourful floats pass through the village, the traditional carnival chronicle is read out and at the end, the three best floats receive an award. In Lana, on the other hand, 'Radlfasching' on bikes takes place on the last carnival Sunday, when unicycles, two-wheelers, tandems and co. are pedalled around the town square by people in costume. And in Salurn-Salorno, Perkeo the dwarf holds his procession in the southernmost village of South Tyrol.

That's carnival in South Tyrol, where every region definitely has its own charms at this time of year!