Rottweil, the oldest city in Baden-Wurttemberg, is worth checking out especially next year during its Fasching parade. Rottweil recently celebrated a traditional style parade called Narrensprung. Only a short distance from Stuttgart, this is an easy half-day trip.
What is Fasching
Fasnet or Fasching is the pre-Lenten carnival celebrated in southern Germany, Switzerland, Alsace, France and Austria since the 13th century. Colorful parades, tom-foolery and some great costumes help make this German “fest” stand out from the others. The English word “fast” (to abstain from eating) is related to the German fasten. Fasnet is celebrated right before the beginning of spring to signify the struggle between winter and spring, death of a season and birth of a new one coming in. The noise is to scare spirits and scary masks to frighten others. The official beginning of the Fasching season is November 11 but rarely little happens in relation to the Fasnet season between November 12 and January 5.
Historical Mask Traditions
Immersed in tradition, the carnival masks and characters have different meanings. You have probably seen the “Federahannes” (Jack with Feathers), the mischievous masked man. He uses a stick for jumping and wears a white coat with feathers. You may be teased by his feather stick as well as this mischievous fellow may take your warm hat or beads! Don’t worry though, you will get your things back. This character is one of the oldest figures in the Rottweil parade.
There is also the “Gschell”, who has a friendly mask. This very important figure of the Fasnet parade has a white dress that is painted with oil-color and a heavy bell strap. The “Schantle” character was usually an obnoxious fellow in the past. Although today he has changed into a distinguished, reserved and friendly man with a little umbrella. The “Lange Mann” belongs to the group of wandering giants and joins the morning parade on the first day of Fasnet (Monday).
Because Rottweil’s Fasching parade (called Narrensprung) is such a fun event, it’s definitely worth marking February 2016 in your calendar. You and your family will truly have an incredible European experience.
There are many parking garages close to the downtown area (Stadtmitte). In addition, most businesses are closed and allow parking. Take note though, not to park in a residential spot or in front of a home. This event starts promptly at 8 a.m. For more information, click on Rottweil.
How to Get There
Rottweil is approximately 1 hour south of Stuttgart, 2 hours and 45 minutes south of Kaiserslautern and just under 3 hours south of Wiesbaden. Click on DB Bahn for train information.