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Essential part of the Hänsele costume is the Karbatsche, 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.
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 oldest 19 - of course they compete in different age groups.
The strict judges give points for the technique, loud and regular cracks, the position - both feet have to stay on the ground in the same spot. The correctness of the Häs is also taken into consideration: points are taken for white socks instead of black ones, shoes in other colours than black, a missing white handkerchief etc. Changing the whip from the right to the left hand and back gives bonus points. And so on.
The movement is hard to describe and impossible to see in photos. I have thus uploaded two videos. One of them shows a 7 or 8 year old during the contest. He has practised well. Still, he doesn't yet have the perfection and easiness of the adults. The other video was taken during the Sunday parade and shows a master in action.
Updated Aug 5, 2008
The largest parade of the Überlinger Fasnet takes place on Carnival Sunday in the afternoon (start 14.30). The route is the same as that of the Hänselejuck : Franziskanertor - Franziskanerstraße - Christophstraße - Jakob-Kesselring-Straße - Landungsplatz - Hofstatt.
Participants are the Hänsele guild, the Lions guild, the Alte Wieber (Old Wives) guild and 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.
Hint for photographers: The very best spot to catch the parade (see view in photo 1) is the top of the stairs in front of the Franciscan church close to the gate tower (in photo 2 on the right). Since this spot is well known and popular you'll have to be there at least an hour earlier to get it. It's worth it, as my photos show.
Updated Jul 21, 2008
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
Written Jul 19, 2008
Überlingen is one of the most traditional centers of the alemannic Fastnacht, the variety of carnival celebrated in the South West of Germany. The main figure is the "Hänsele" in his black and coloured costume.
Two big parades are done on the carnival weekend: the "Hänselejuck" on Saturday night (20.00) when the dark streets are lit with bengalic fire, and the big parade on Sunday afternoon (14.30).
See my travelogue page for more details and pictures.
Whip cracking is an essential part of the Überlinger Fastnacht. I've added two videos - one taken during the Sunday parade, the other one during the children's whip cracking competition.
Updated May 19, 2008