Celebrating Shrove Tuesday in Bavaria

upberg-Castle-and-Fasching-Parade-MilliGFunkToday is the last Tuesday of Fasching, so it’s the last big hoorah in Germany before Lent begins tomorrow.

Over the last several days, there have been plenty of celebrations in our little corner of Bavaria, but when you’re celebrating Shrove Tuesday in Bavaria, it’s all about the parades.

Sunday was a big day for parades, too. As we drove home from a little trip to Ingolstat, Germany on Sunday, we saw parade floats and people wearing crazy costumes in just about every small town we drove through. My favorite sighting was of the farmer driving a HUGE green tractor down the road; dressed as Honest Abe in a full tuxedo and tall top hat.

We watched a Fasching parade in the town of Lupberg, Germany that same day. Each group walking in the parade wore coordinated costumes. We saw people dressed up as the Ghostbusters, flappers, NASA Astronauts (complete with a rocket), leprechauns, jail birds, and even a Santa Muerte marching band.


Today, a friend and I drove to the Bavarian town of Schmitmühlen for its Shrove Tuesday Fasching Parade. Candy was through to the kids, and shots of liquor to adults at both parades. Many of the participants at the parades carried bottles of liquor or beer with them down the street.

The booze:



The Schmitmühlen Fasching parade was bigger and crazier than Lupberg’s. In Lupberg, most of the “floats” were carts pulled by the groups walking in the event. In Schmitmühlen, pull-behind cards simply wouldn’t do.

Schmitmühlen’s parade was still a small town parade, but the floats were big (and pulled by industrial-sized farm tractors), and the costumes were more elaborate. Candy was thrown, beer was drunk, shots were taken, and everyone — spectators and paraders, kids and adults — seemed to be having a great time.

Some of my favorite sights of the day were:

1) The two guys dressed like Norse gods, drinking from a horn flask…


2) The cross-dressing pharmacist pushing blue Viagra pills (actually cough drops) on the men in the crowd…


3) The King Ludwig II float, because it was made to look something like a castle…


4) This lady and her goat, which caught me by complete surprise, since there were no other farm animals (including horses) in the parade…


5) The Chinese marching band (I was a college marching band nerd, I speak some Mandarin, and I’ve played in a Chinese orchestra – this was totally my kind of silly!)


6) And this older gentleman dressed as a joker, leading a group of pretty young dancers, and carrying his stuffed chicken…


German Fasching is a lot like American Mardi Gras, so Shrove Tuesday is like Fat Tuesday — it’s the last big celebration before Ash Wednesday Catholics begin Lent. By late afternoon, stores (even large chain supermarkets) were closed down, and the towns I drove through were unusually quiet. I think (although I’m not positive) that tomorrow will be a quiet day (that’s what German’s call the day when businesses are shut down) for families and church.

Have you ever experienced German Fasching or Swiss Faschnact? What did you like the most or the least about the experience? Leave a comment!

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One Comment

  1. That would be so much fun!

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