Rio has its Carnival, New Orleans Mardi Gras and we here in Baden-Württemberg celebrate Fasching. Or Fasnet. Or Fasnacht… Well, we have different names for it but in the end it is one festival. In this post I want to point out how we celebrate Fasching in Stuttgart and where you can go to join the party.
Fasching in Stuttgart – the history behind it
The history of Fasching dates back many centuries. Wikipedia told me that even people in Mesopotamia celebrated a pre-version of it 5000 years ago… Impressive, I didn’t know that. In medieval times the celebrations became close to what we know nowadays. Fasching in Stuttgart follows the tradition of the Swabian-Alemannic Fasnet. While the celebrations in the Rhine area developed into a more modern way to the Rhine Carnival that is celebrated for example in Cologne nowadays, the Swabian-Alemannic Fasching – after following this development for a while, too – remembered its medieval roots. This is why Karneval in Cologne is much more jolly than the sometimes rather dark Fasching celebrations in Stuttgart – just look at the masks of the participants.
Fasching in Stuttgart – wild masks and characters
The traditional Swabian-Alemannic masks are called Häs. Most of them look quite scary, not jolly like the clowns or princesses most people would think of when they picture a Carnival celebration. These Häs have a long tradition and some of them are handed down from generation to generation.
You can find a number of characters amongst the Häs: jesters, witches, daemons, animals and legendary characters. As soon as someone puts on his or her Häs, they change their character and begin to act wild and sometimes even nasty, especially at Fasching parades. If you visit a parade with kids, have a close eye on them as they might get scared by the wild figures and performances. And it happens very often that children or teenagers get kidnapped by a group of witches or jesters who carry their victim with them for a while (that actually happened to my mum when she was a child – you might guess she never became a big fan of Fasching afterwards…)
But of course you don’t need a traditional Häs to join a Fasching party! You will notice that most people will dress up in “normal” costumes, too.
Fasching in Stuttgart – when is it celebrated?
The version of Fasching that was celebrated in pre-Christian times originated in the wish of the people to drive away winter – and with it its dark spirits. That’s why the masks, the Häs, look so scary in the end.
For Christians, Fasnet was the time before Lenten season begun – the last chance to act wild and free and to eat (and drink!) whatever one wants.
All this cumulates into nowadays Fasching season: The official start into what we also call the “fifth season” is on November 11 at 11:11 am. But the main celebrations happen in the week before Ash Wednesday so their dates depend on Eastern and vary from year to year.
Here is an overview over the most important Fasching dates in 2019:
- Weiberfasching (the day when women take over, storm the city hall and cut men’s ties): February 28
- Rosenmontag (the day of the big Fasching parade): March 4
- Faschingdienstag (last chance to go wild): March 5
- Aschenmittwoch (start of Lent, time to go to church): March 6
Fasching in Stuttgart: dates, parties, parades
There is a lot going on during Fasching season in Stuttgart. I will now point what I think are the main events:
- February 28: Kübelesrennen at Marktplatz Bad Cannstatt
- March 1: Storchenball at Sängerhalle Untertürkheim
- March 2: Fasching vs. Bad Taste Party at Universum
- March 2: Big Carnival Show at SSB Waldaupark
- March 2: Fasching in Feuerbach (a street event starts at 10 am at Kelterplatz, the party will go on at 1 pm at Bürgerhaus)
- March 2: Fasching in Bad Cannstatt (Fasching for kids starting at 2 pm at Kleiner Kursaal, big Küblerball at 20:11 pm at Kursaal)
- March 2: Rössle Ball at Festhalle Feuerbach
- March 4: Rosenmontag Fasching Party at Sophie’s Brauhaus
- March 4: Rosenmontag reception at city hall Stuttgart
- March 4: Fasching for kids between 3 and 10 at city hall Stuttgart
- March 5: Fasching Parade for kids through Bad Cannstatt
- March 5: Big Fasching Parade through downtown Stuttgart, followed by a party at Karlsplatz
- March 5: Fasching Party at Sophie’s Brauhaus
- March 5: Fasching Parade in the streets of Stuttgart-Hofen
- March 5: Fasching Rave at Club ToY
Fasching in Stuttgart: Do’s and Don’ts
In order to have a great time celebrating Fasching in Stuttgart, there are some do’s and don’ts you should know about:
- Dress up, dance, laugh and have fun!
- As the weather can be quite cold make sure you’re wearing something warm when you’re watching the parade.
- Bring cash, epay and even credit cards are not accepted everywhere.
- Flirting is fine, touching others without their permission not so much.
- Don’t pee in public, you’ll get fined.
- Don’t leave your waste on the streets. Put it in the bins provided.
- Drink responsibly.
- Don’t drive when you’ve had a few.
Fasching in Stuttgart: In need of a costume?
You want to visit a Fasching party but have nothing to wear? There is a fun shop for costumes in downtown Stuttgart called Deiters.
If you’re in a hurry, you’ll definitely find something on amazon.com. These are my favorite costumes this year [affiliate links]:
Transparecy: This article contains unpaid advertisements. In this post I point out events and locations that I can recommend personally. I did not get paid by the organizators to do so. Paid contend is always highlighted as such on Living in Stuttgart.
Picture credits: canva.com