Hänselejuck: Saturday Night Parade
Carnival Saturday is the big night when the "Hänselejuck", the night parade of the Hänsele guild, takes place in town. Red bengal fires illuminate the old town. The parade begins at 20.00 near the train station, leads through the Franziskaner gate, down Franziskanerstraße, along Christophstraße and back along Jakob-Kesselring-Straße to Landungsplatz and ends in Hofstatt square with music, dance and a lot of whip cracking.
The parade is most impressive in Franziskanerstraße with the medieval town gate in the background - come very early if you want a good spot there, 19.15 is already late. This street will be extremely crowded. As soon as the parade has passed, move over to Hofstatt to see the final.
More pictures on my Hänselejuck travelogue
Fastnacht in Überlingen
"Traditional Fastnacht: The "Hänsele" guild"
Carnival activities in Überlingen date back to the 15th century. Carnival feasts are first mentioned in 1474, in 1496 the city council published a law that ruled customs like wearing devil costumes or receiving the carnival cakes.
The carnival guild (Hänselezunft) is proud of its tradition, which is one of the oldest in Baden-Württemberg. Überlingen is a member of the Viererbund (separate page to come), an association of four old traditional guilds.
The mandatory costume ("Häs") of the guild is the Hänsele. A white overall is covered with rows of black fringes, every third or fourth row in the sequel of colours red-green-yellow-blue. The Hänsele does not wear a wooden mask like most other Alemannic carnival types but a mask and hat made of the same material as the clothing. The fox tail at the back of the head and the white handkerchief at the front are as essential as the long whip, the "Karbatsche". A white shirt and black tie, black shoes and black socks are required to be worn underneath the Häs. No white socks please!!!
"The use of the whip (Karbatsche)"
The Karbatsche is a whip that consists of a very short handle and a rope up to 5 metres long. Creating loud and rhythmic cracks requires both physical strength and technique.
Being hit by the whip would hurt. Therefore they move the whip slowly in a full circle to get enough space before they actually start.
Look at my video to see a master in action.
The boys in Überlingen learn the use of the Karbatsche from a quite young age, the guild even organizes lessons. In the afternoon of carnival Saturday the kids are having a competition, which takes place in Hofstatt square (Sat 14.00) and is fun to watch. This year the youngest participant was five years old.
The other video shows a 7 or 8 year old during the competition. He has practised well. Still, he doesn't yet have the perfection and easiness of the adults.
Saturday (20.00) is the big night when the "Hänselejuck" takes place in town. The Hänsele parade through the streets at night. Red bengal fires illuminate the old town. The parade ends in Hofstatt square with music, dance and a lot of whip cracking.
Be there by 19.15 if you want to stand in a place where you can watch them well.
"The parade on Sunday afternoon"
A second parade takes place on Sunday afternoon (14.30). This time it's not only the Hänsele guild but also other guilds and groups from in and around Überlingen. In addition to the alemannic guilds in their Häs, small groups dress up and make fun of current events, politics, society in town.
Again, be there at least half an hour to 45 minutes earlier.
"Narreneltern: The Parents of the guild"
The two most important personalities in the Hänselezunft are the Parents of the guild (Narreneltern). Both are elegantly dressed, the Mother in a long 19th century dress and golden bonnet, the Father with a high hat. During the Sunday parade they ride in a horse-drawn carriage.
Check the picture carefully: The Mother is always impersonated by a man.
Not only the Mother: All Hänsele are males. Girls and women are not allowed to become members and wear the Hänselehäs. The legend tells that some girls who tried were thrown into the fountain - in their clothes if they were lucky.
"... and the women?"
Of course the women of Überlingen found a solution to this problem. Women have long organized their own carnival events. In 1995 two sisters founded the guild of the lions (Löwenzunft) and created a new Häs, which derives from the red lion in the town's coat of arms. The Löwen, who are all females, have since then become a regular part of the Sunday parade.
"The Young Lionesses"
The young girls in the Löwenzunft do not yet wear the wooden mask, instead they have their faces painted individually. IMHO they're even prettier than the adults.