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Tuesday, 01.12.2020 / 13:26
Tourism / Sights to Amaze / Fasnet (Carnival)

​Fasnet (Carnival) in Messkirch

"Hoorig, hoorig, hoorig isch dia Katz..."
(The rallying cry of Messkirch's Fasnet, lit: "Hairy, hairy, hairy is the cat!")

At Fasnet – jokingly referred to as the "fifth season of the year" – the little town of Messkirch turns into a veritable "fools' stronghold" of Swabian-Alemannic carnival culture. Dressed in the traditional masks and costumes of cats, "Hänsele", bats and other "fools", Messkirch's inhabitants fill the streets and celebrate to their heart's content at folklore events, balls and the inns.

No-one can say exactly how old Messkirch's carnival tradition is. The chronicle of the Counts of Zimmern, written at Messkirch Castle and now preserved in Baden-Württemberg's State Archive as an object of particular cultural value, contains reports of something resembling today's "Fasnet" being celebrated in Messkirch around that time – i.e. the 15th century.
It is also in this chronicle that the most important figure of the Messkirch Fasnet – the Messkirch Cat – has its origins. Created in its current form in 1938, it's considered one of the finest figures of the Swabian-Alemannic Fasnet. However, the carnival "Cat Guild" also has other groups dressed as bats and "Hirling-Hansele" (a motley character in a bright yellow smock and green hood topped by a cockscomb), and various individual figures such as the court jester Petter Letzkopf, or the "Nasenschleifer" (lit. "nose grinders").

Fasnet in Messkirch traditionally begins on Epiphany (6th January). On the following Saturday Petter Letzkopf, the court jester, is released from the castle, upon which, accompanied by the bats and Hansele, he symbolically "lets the cat out of the bag". The climax of the Messkirch Fasnet is on "Schmotzigen Dunnstig" ("Greasy Thursday") – the Thursday preceding Ash Wednesday – when the whole town goes completely mad and one high-spirited programme item follows closely on the next. Messkirch keeps its traditions alive with morning drinking bouts, "Wurstschnappen" (grabbing sausages from the end of sticks), the guild ball, "Schnurren" (lit. "purring") in the pubs (making fun of politicians and public figures), the big carnival procession on Shrove Monday and lots more besides.

Detailed information on the Messkirch Fasnet can be found on the website of the Katzenzunft Messkirch carnival guild under the following link:

Website of the Katzenzunft Messkirch

Fasnet in other districts of Messkirch

Other districts of Messkirch also celebrate Fasnet with traditions of their own. Partly organised by their own carnival societies, and partly supported by bands, clubs and dedicated citizens, the carnival culture of the surrounding villages has its own special charm.

Eulenzunft Rohrdorf       Eulen
Fuchszunft Menningen Narren der Fuchszunft
NV Randenmale Rengetsweiler Gruppenfoto der Randenmale
Narrenverein Dietershofen Muehle-Vere
Narren-, Kultur- und Sportverein Schnerkingen Narreneltern aus Schnerkingen
Narren-, Kultur-, und Sportverein Ringgenbach Ringgenbacher Clowns
Igelswieser Igel Igelswieser Igel

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