Gengenbach Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by Kathrin_E
  • Spättlehansel in the parade
    Spättlehansel in the parade
    by Kathrin_E
  • The pirate ship
    The pirate ship
    by Kathrin_E

Most Recent Local Customs in Gengenbach

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo

    FASEND: Klepperlisbuben and Klepperlismaidle

    by Kathrin_E Updated Jul 12, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Klepperle area typical tradition in Gengenbach: Small flat pieces of wood, a pair per hand, are clattered in a certain rhythm. Operating them requires light-fingeredness and most of all practice, practice, practice, but about every kid in town and every adult who grew up in Gengenbach is capable of this. It is an activity for children and teenagers, at the age of 18 they have to leave the groups and move on, for example become witches or Spättlehansel in the adult guild.

    The group of the Klepperlisbuben is for boys only. Their uniform are blue work shirts, red bandanas and black woollen hats. A long row if them, sorted by height, marches in the parades performing their song and rhythm.
    Girls are good at this skill, too, and limiting participation to boys was considered unfair. Hence the group of the Klepperlismaidli came into existence, and they walk in the parade and perform just like the boys. Their dress is a dark blue skirt with apron, white blouse and colourful vest, red bandana, white stockings and dark boots, and a headband that matches the pattern of the vest.

    Klepperle seller How to hold them Klepperlisbuben Klepperlismaidli
    Related to:
    • Festivals
    • Music
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo

    FASEND: Lumbehund

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 12, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Lumbehund are big and fat so they can hardly move. Their clothing is stuffed with hay until they are round as a barrel. The witches make fun of them, push them over, roll them on the ground, sit on them, step on them... Thanks to the hay they are not hurt, but this costume cannot at all be comfortable. It is sweating hot inside. And then there is another problem... the Fasend involves drinking alcohol, lots of it, and there are various theories how to deal with the inevitable disposal of superfluous body fluid when you are stuck inside a bundle of hay.

    A young man who wants to become an active member of the witch guild has to be a Lumbehund in the first year. It is sort of an initiation rite (boys, eh!) and only after this he will be allowed to have himself a witch Häs made. I think they are all glad they have to do this only once in their jester career...

    Witches roll a Lumbehund
    Related to:
    • Festivals
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo

    FASEND: Spättlehansel

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 12, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Spättlehansel is a Häs for women and men. It is made from hundreds of U-shaped pieces of fabric (Spättle) in all colours and patterns sewn on an overall like roof tiles. The wooden mask is a laughing face. Small children wear the Häs withour mask.
    Despite the friendly look, however, the Spättlehansel are not entriely harmless. They tease spectatours with extending scissors, which are great fro grabbing hats and caps, or with Saublodere (pig bladders).

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Festivals
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo

    FASEND: Witches

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 12, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The witch is not, as many may think, a traditional figure in the Alemannic Fastnacht. The first witch mask and costume appeared only in 1933 in Offenburg. Shortly after, Gengenbach got a witch figure, too. Together with the Spättlehansel the witch is the main Häs of the jester guild. All witches must be men. They are always food for some fun...

    The Gengenbacher witch mask has a rather smooth face compared to most other witch types, and a flat headscarf without any wooden structures underneath. So they are quite easy to recognize. They can often be met outside Gengenbach at jester meetings or on parades on Carnival Monday when they have no event at home.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Festivals
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo

    FASEND: Bott

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 12, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Bott is the city bailiff. Originally the one who was to persecute and arrest the misbehaved jesters in the event of 1499, he has been adopted by the guild as part of their staff. He is the moderator during the guild evenings and leads the parades together with the Schalk.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Festivals
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo

    FASEND: Schalk

    by Kathrin_E Updated Jul 12, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Schalk is the character who symbolizes the carnival of Gengenbach. His home is Niggelturm, one of the towers of the fortification, where he sleeps all year until he is awakened three weeks before the High Days to start the carnival season. There is no Fasend without him. His costume is that of an old court jester, Till-Eulenspiegel-type, in dark red. His equipment consists of a lantern and a Marotte, a sceptre with miniature masks of witch and Spättlehansel.
    He takes a leading role in the guild's events and marches at the beginning of the parades. In the evening of Shrove Tuesday, just before midnight, he is once more banned into Niggelturm and goes to sleep for 11 months until the next Fasend begins.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Festivals

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo

    FASEND: Carnival in Gengenbach

    by Kathrin_E Updated Jul 12, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Gengenbach's carnival is a traditional one in Alemannic style. It's called "Fasend" just like in Zell, not "Fasnet" as in most of the Black Forest and beyond.

    Tradition dates back to an event of the year 1499, when some citizens of the town decorated a big rabble as the first jester tree and did a noisy run through the streets. Persecuted by the magistrate who wanted to imprison them, they fled across the border into the territory of the abbey. The abbot showed more understanding for carnival fun and obtained an amnesty. That was the beginning of the street carnival in Gengenbach.

    The history of the present Fasend, however, begins with the foundation of the first carnival club in 1890 and the foundation of the jester guild in 1925. The main figures, the witch and the Spättlehansel, were designed only in the 1930's.

    The Fasend begins three and a half weeks prior to Ash Wednesday when a large crowd in Hemdglunker (white nightsirts), equipped with drums and brass instruments and everything that makes noise, assembles outside Niggelturm to awaken the Schalk, the symbolic figure of Gengenbach's Fasend, who is sleeping in the tower during the rest of the year. When he finally wakes up, he is accompanied to the town hall where he takes the keys and the government. The following weekends see some indoor events until the High Days begin.
    On the eve of Fasend (Wednesday before Greasy Thursday) the witches set up a giant broom stick and the Spättle a giant rabble in front of the town hall (photo 1). All streets and all pubs are busy. In the evening, masked groups are around in the pubs to tell the news of the year and mock people.
    The event which is of most interest to visitors is the main parade on Sunday, starting 2 p.m. The best spot to watch it is surely the main square by the town hall - come early because it will be crowded.
    Gengenbach is small, so they do the round twice. In addition to the members of the guild in ther traditional Häs there are the guilds from the small villages around participating, also one or more guest guilds from other towns (here it was Wolfach), and clubs, companies and groups from the town and around with big carts and imaginative costumes: photo 5 shows the most impressive cart of that year.

    Sp��ttlehansel in the parade The pirate ship Bott and Schalk lead the jester guild Waiting for the parade
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Festivals
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo

    "Friendly Toilets"

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 11, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The town of Gengenbach has introduced the Nette Toilette campaign, which is very useful for visitors. It means that public toilets in the participating restaurants, cafes, pubs, institutions and shops are free to use for passers-by (not just for customers as usual). There are more than a dozen places participating. These will have a "Nette Toilette" sticker on their door. The smilies on the map indicate the locations.

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Seniors
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo

    Weekly Farmers Market

    by Kathrin_E Updated Jul 11, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The farmers market takes place in the main square in front ot the town hall every Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Merchandise is mostly fresh fruit and veggies, so if you need a healthy snack, you'll find a wide selection. You will also find imported fruit and veggies, but some of the merchants are really local producers selling what's in season. The Kinzig valley is a fruit region with many orchards, in season a lot of local fruit is available.

    What does one do with fruit? Eat it, cook jam, bake cakes... and make Schnaps, which is considered staple food and medicine in the Black Forest. Many orchard owners make their own and sell it on markets like this - can you spot the bottles in the first photo?

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Budget Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo

    Presentation of historical farming at Bauernmarkt

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 11, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Saturday market is in particular declared as Bauernmarkt, a traditional farmers' market. In addition to the stalls selling regional produce, there was a presentation of historical farming techniques set up to show what farming was like in former times - I suppose they do something like this every Saturday, at least in the warmer season.
    It was the season of grain harvest, so they had installed a threshing machine from the World War II era, built in 1940. A group of elderly men were operating it. Working with this thing looked still hard but a lot easier than the traditional method of threshing by hand with flails.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Farm Stay

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo

    Dolls

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 16, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Spotted in a window in Engelgasse. The alley with its half-timbered houses is already romantic enough but this here is overkill, LOL...

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Women's Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo

    A Twinkle

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 11, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    No comment needed, I think...

    I found the fountain with this funny face at a fountain in an angle off Klosterstraße, opposite the abbey buildings.

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Gengenbach

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

26 travelers online now

Comments

Gengenbach Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Gengenbach local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Gengenbach sightseeing.

View all Gengenbach hotels