If you’ve already been to Bolzano and Environs, you probably know what we’re talking about: 2024 is a “Perkeo year”. If you don’t have a clue, then keep on reading.
Maschggra time is here!
Maschggra: that’s what we call carnival in Bolzano and Environs. When colourful, loud, and lively parades pass through the streets of the villages, clowns and pirates play pranks together, a group of Teletubbies sings carnival songs loudly and incorrectly ... that’s Maschggra. This time of the year is particularly rich in traditions in Bolzano and Environs. And there’s no shortage of important and representative carnival figures either.
The Egetmann parade in Tramin
Let’s start with Egetmann. It’s the ultimate spectacle in Tramin … but only in odd-numbered years. So the next time you can enjoy this tradition will be on Shrove Tuesday 2025. It’s one of the oldest carnival traditions in Tyrol: In fact, it dates back to 1591. The story behind the parade: Egetmann Hansl, a puppet with a black skirt, top hat, and white gloves is celebrating his wedding. His carriage is accompanied by various floats and figures. Among them are the fishermen, the wild men, the pan makers, and the Schnappviecher, also known here as Wuddelen, which are a sort of crocodiles with no ears. These monster-like figures are covered in fur and are placed on the shoulders as a metre-high costume. They have a huge, open mouth that rattles incredibly loudly when the people dressed up jump and run. But don’t be afraid of the Schnappviecher: The noise is only meant to drive away the winter, not the visitors!
By the way: If you want to participate in the Egetmann parade, you shouldn’t put on your best dress … People in Tramin love to throw soot, dust, sawdust, and not quite fresh meat into the crowd!
Perkeo Maschggra carnival in Salurn: Perché no?
Let’s quickly travel back in time. Dwarf Perkeo is said to be born in Salurn, at the southernmost end of South Tyrol, around 1702. He worked as a button maker, was incredibly hard-drinking, and was brought to Heidelberg Castle to become a court jester. Soon he became the prince’s cupbearer and guardian of the great barrel, which held 200 tonnes of wine. Apparently, when asked if he wanted another glass of wine, he always replied: “Perché no?” (Why not?). This answer gave him his name “Perkeo”. He soon had enough of life at court and craved Salurn’s vineyards and a good Vernatsch wine. He returned home just in time for the carnival season, on Carnival Thursday to be precise, and took over the rule of Salurn for a whole week. However, his end is even more legendary than his life: In 1735, after a doctor advised him to drink a glass of water for a change and he followed this advice, the dwarf is said to have fallen over dead.
Perkeo Maschggra carnival today
Whether you want to believe the legend or not, Salurn is still dominated by the dwarf Perkeo for a whole week. Those who want to participate in the parade on a parade float, must follow the Perkeo code. Oh, one last thing: The Perkeo parade takes place in even years, so that it alternates perfectly with the Egetmann parade in Tramin. Still no plans for 8 February 2024? Then come and see this crazy spectacle! Perché no?
Enjoy the colourful Carnival time in Bolzano and Environs!
With heartfelt greetings,
the südtirol privat on Tour team