Rottweil Local Customs

  • Rottweiler Federahannes
    Rottweiler Federahannes
    by Kathrin_E
  • Biss
    Biss
    by Kathrin_E
  • Federahannes with pole
    Federahannes with pole
    by Kathrin_E

Most Recent Local Customs in Rottweil

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    A Shop Window

    by Kathrin_E Written Aug 15, 2008

    A glance into such a shop window makes you understand how elaborate these costumes are, how many materials and accessiores are needed: ribbons, braids and lace, fringes, wigs, leather straps, bells, mirrors, the leather sausages ...

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    Heischeverse: Verses To Sing

    by Kathrin_E Updated Aug 15, 2008
    I'll conduct and you sing...
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    The jesters are generously distributing sweets - but not entirely for free. If you want some you have to sing a verse in Swabian which makes more or less sense, but don't worry about that...

    The most popular ones are these two:
    "Narro, kugelrund,
    d' Stadtleut' sind wider alli g'sund."
    (Jester, round as a ball,
    people in town are all healthy again.)

    "Narro, siebe Sii,
    siebe Sii sind Narro g'sii."
    (Jester, seven sons,
    seven sons have been jesters.)*

    The melody, the same for both, consists of no more than three notes, you'll pick it up easily.

    *Everyone in nowadays' Rottweil will tell you that the second one doesn't make any sense at all. There is, however, a complicated explanation deriving from medieval theology. The verses are indeed very old. There are paintings from the late middle ages which depict Eve, the first sinner, with her seven sons impersonating the seven deadly sins. Since according to the medieval church a jester is someone who ignores god and lives a life of sins, the verse may allude to this.

    Warning: If a jester wants you to sing, you will. They insist and you won't get rid of them. They stand in front of you and conduct with one hand or the leather Narrenwurst (sausage) many of them carry. Just try. In emergency, a la-la-la is better than nothing.

    Etiquette: Children get thrown a handful of sweets from the basket as a reward for singing. Adults, however, will after a solo performance be offered the little box which contains pralines, chocolate and other finer stuff. If this happens, pick ONE piece.

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    The Guild's Rules How To Get A Narrenkleid

    by Kathrin_E Written Aug 15, 2008
    The badge: costume checked and approved
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    Becoming member of the Fastnacht guild in Rottweil and getting a Narrenkleid is no easy affair. First, only people who either were born in Rottweil or have been living there for at least 15 years and speak the local dialect are accepted. Only these may apply for a Narrenkleid. Each year the guild accepts a very limited number of new costumes. The permissions to get one are drawn in a lottery among the applicants. The winner then may have it made at his/her own costs, and these things cost several thousands of €€€!

    Every jester in the parade wears the badge with the black eagle saying "Original Rottweiler Narrenkleid", usually attached to the left side of the headcover. The guild has strict regulations about the costumes, what they have to look like, which artisans are allowed to make them, etc. to keep the tradition pure. Every new one has to be presented and accepted. Nobody is allowed to participate in the parade without this badge.

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    FIGURES: Guller - The Cock Rider

    by Kathrin_E Written Aug 9, 2008
    Guller
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    The Guller, the cock rider, is another singular figure. Like the Rössle he is a fake rider, the person is walking on his own feet.

    The Guller hides in the crowd of the jesters and appears all of a sudden to hassle the women among the spectators. The cock is understood as a symbol of sexuality. That's how this figure is meant to be understood. Look at the lecherous expression of the mask...

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    5 NARRENKLEIDER: Federahannes

    by Kathrin_E Written Aug 9, 2008
    Federahannes with pole
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    One of the five types of Narrenkleider (costumes) the members of the guild wear. There are hundreds of examples of each type. The all follow the same rules, but since each of them is individually made, they are all different in details.

    The Federahannes is the "naughty boy" among Rottweil's jesters. The clothing is covered with white feathers, the mask shows protruding teeth and a rolled chin. The costume comes in either dark red, blue or green.

    He carries a metal pole to which a cow tail is attached at the top end. The pole serves for two purposes: teasing the spectators - no worries, the cow tail is clean and perfumed -, and performing the Narrensprung after which the whole parade was named.
    The technique of the jump is more or less the same as pole vault: Pole on the ground, jump and throw feet up in the air.
    Look at the videos for examples of both uses!

    Photo 2: This cute baby Federahannes may have been the youngest participant of the 2007 parade, staggering along at the parent's hand. He wears a complete costume and even has his own little pole.

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    5 NARRENKLEIDER: Fransenkleidle

    by Kathrin_E Written Aug 9, 2008
    Fransenkleidle
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    One of the five types of Narrenkleider (costumes) the members of the guild wear. There are hundreds of examples of each type. The all follow the same rules, but since each of them is individually made, they are all different in details.

    The Fransenkleidle consists of a corduroy suit which is covered with colourful stripes made of short wool threads. The combination of colours seems to be personal choice since there are many different varieties. The general appearance is very baroque.

    Photo 2: This mini one may be 3 years old, perhaps even less, it could hardly walk properly. But the Narrenkleid is complete, just like an adult's, it's even carrying a little basket with sweets.

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    5 NARRENKLEIDER: Schantle

    by Kathrin_E Written Aug 9, 2008
    Schantle
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    One of the five types of Narrenkleider (costumes) the members of the guild wear. There are hundreds of examples of each type. The all follow the same rules, but since each of them is individually made, they are all different in details.

    The Schantle are the well-behaved gentlemen and ladies among the jesters. According to the movements of many, this costume seems to be preferred by older people (just a guess). The elegant 19th century waistcoat and pants aren't complete without the umbrella. Exquisite damascene or embroidered fabrics in subdued colours are used for the Schantle costume.

    Schantle, Gschell and Fransenkleidle carry baskets full of sweets. Gutsle are given to everyone who is able to sing at least one of the traditional verses.

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    5 NARRENKLEIDER: Gschell

    by Kathrin_E Updated Aug 9, 2008
    Gschell
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    One of the five types of Narrenkleider (costumes) the members of the guild wear. There are hundreds of examples of each type. The all follow the same rules, but since each of them is individually made, they are all different in details.

    The Gschell is a more feminine variety of the Biss and often worn by women and children. Instead of the cock feathers the Biss has, three fox tails are attached to the head.
    Both Biss and Gschell carry bells on leather belts round their body.

    Photo 1: This Gschell looks like a newly made Narrenkleid. The leather looks new, and it's got only two of the black and yellow ribbons each participant receives before the parade, the ones for 2006 and 2007. So this costume was worn for the first time in 2006.

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    5 NARRENKLEIDER: Biss

    by Kathrin_E Updated Aug 9, 2008
    Biss
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    One of the five types of Narrenkleider (costumes) the members of the guild wear. There are hundreds of examples of each type. The all follow the same rules, but since each of them is individually made, they are all different in details.

    A wide mouth with bared teeth, big nose, cock feathers and a fox tail on the head, these are the characteristics of the Biss, which is mostly worn by men.
    Both Biss and Gschell carry heavy metal bells on leather belts round their body.

    The white clothing shows exquisite symbolic paintings. The themes of the pictures follow strict rules. For example, the headcover has to show portraits of Turks. The flowers, the personages, the ornaments etc. - everything has a deeper symbolic meaning.

    Photo 3: Note the little rhombic mirror attached to the mask's temple. The mirror has long been associated with jesters: First, the jester is someone who looks at nothing but his own image and not at the Lord (theological interpretation). Second, the jester is the one who shows others their reflection in his mirror, i.e. tells them unpleasant truth.
    In this case, the little mirror reflects the blue and white scarf yours truly is wearing.

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    The Bands, And The Beaten Eagles

    by Kathrin_E Written Aug 9, 2008
    Drummer - note the poor eagle screaming...
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    The brass bands play the traditional fastnet marches during the parades. Like the guards they wear lansquenets' uniforms.

    Watch out for the drummers. The big drums are painted with Rottweil's heraldic eagle. The poor bird is being hit all the time - no wonder it screams "Aua!" (Ouch!)...

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    FIGURES: Langer Mann - The Long Man

    by Kathrin_E Updated Aug 9, 2008
    Langer Mann

    The Lange Mann, a singular figure who walks with the second group of Bajasse , is tall enough to look into the windows of the first floor.

    I haven't exactly figured out the construction but it looks as if there is one person walking underneath who holds a long pole with the head on top.

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    FIGURES: Narrenengel - Jester Angel

    by Kathrin_E Written Aug 9, 2008
    Narrenengel
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    The Narrenengel (jester angel), another singular figure, is not actually an angel. He recalls a religious brotherhood, the Engelsgesellschaft (angel society), of wandering artisans who traditionally took an important part in the carnival celebrations in former times.

    The Narrenengel carries a plate with the city's coat of arms and the inscription: "Niemand zu Leid, jedem zur Freud" (To no one's harm, to everyone's joy) - the motto of Rottweil's Fastnacht.

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    FIGURES: Brieler Rössle

    by Kathrin_E Updated Aug 9, 2008
    Brieler R��ssle and drover
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    The "Brieler Rössle", named after an extinct village near Rottweil, come in groups of three: one horse rider led by two drovers with whips, which they use excessively to hit the feathers on the rider's head.
    Luckily the rider doesn't have a real horse! He has to walk on his own two legs. The "horse" is just a construction the "rider" carries on braces.

    Since the Rössle are my favourites in the Fastnacht of Rottweil, I have made a travelogue page about them with more pictures and details. Have a look at the videos, too.

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    FIGURES: Bajasse

    by Kathrin_E Written Aug 9, 2008
    Bajasse at the beginning of the parade

    A group of Bajasse opens the parade. The name derives from the Italian "Bajazzo". Their costume is a harlequin, completely different from all the other types in Rottweil's Fastnacht. It was probably adopted in the late 1700s when the Italian carnival became popular.
    The Bajass is mostly worn by children - understandable, since such a costume is much cheaper than a traditional Narrenkleid . The colours, black and yellow, are the heraldic colours of the city.

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    "Aufsagen" - Telling The Past Year's News

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 27, 2008
    The red Schantle has interesting news.
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    After the parades the jesters wander around for the Aufsagen - telling the past years' news and complaints to anyone who wants to, or is forced to, listen. Most of them make an album with drawings and paintings to illustrate the stories they want to share.

    Hidden underneath mask and Narrenkleid one can say everything. Of course they pick their listeners carefully if they have the chance. The town's mayor, for example, will learn a lot these days...

    A former minister of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg told me about her visit to the Rottweil Fastnacht while she was still in office - one jester told her so many insider stories about her ministry that she recognized a certain staff member.

    Photo 1: The red Schantle on the left obviously has news to tell that also interests the other jesters.

    Photo 2 and 3: I was able to look over his shoulder but was too far away to understand what the Biss was saying, but the picture suggests it was about the county savings bank (Kreissparkasse). The drawing in his album shows crests, probably of surrounding towns, and the red symbol of an "S" with a dot in each corner - the logo of the Sparkasse.

    Photo 4: Another Biss is telling news to a group of spectators in the streets.

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Rottweil Local Customs

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