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Although the Carnival season or ‘Fasching’ is celebrated all over Germany, there are places where you can observe some especially unique and authentic traditions. Such places include Mittenwald, Krün, Oberau, and Wallgau in the south of Bavaria. Old customs and traditions play an important role in the life of the mentioned villages. Every year the central squares become the main focus for the Fasching celebration. Also, carnival parades take place around Altmühltal in central Bavaria, namely in Kinding (Sunday), Enkering (Monday), and Kipfenberg (Tuesday).
The highlight of the event is the Maschera parade. This custom that dates back 500 years and annually attracts thousands of visitors. Twelve bell ringers, called ‘Schellenruehrer’ march through the streets wearing scary costumes, hand-carved wooden masks, and carry heavy cowbells. They symbolise the twelve months of the year. These characters are also accompanied by whip performers ‘Goaslschnalzer’ and panhandlers ‘Pfannenziacher.’ These men form a long line and dance along the streets. Their performance is said to drive out winter and wake up the spirit of spring. All the hand-carved masks and costumes are handed from one generation to another, which make them so unique.
The Carnival season lasts for over a month, but the culmination falls on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday (Faschingssonntag ) and on Shrove Tuesday (Faschingsdienstag). On Ash Wednesday, Munich restaurants offer fish specialities to symblolise beginning of the Lent.