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Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Carnival time in the Alps

Carnival time has come and the villages throughout Tirol are celebrating the lengthening of the days, waning of winter and the approaching spring. Every year, four of the MARTA villages (just east of Innsbruck - Artl, Rum, Thaur, Absam) get together for a combined parade, alternating venue each year.

I missed out on the masks last year and really enjoy discovering the cultures wherever I live, so I was not going to miss out on it this year again. So, Sunday I was right there in the [light] snow to check it out.

The carnival (Fasching) parade is called different things in the various villages. In Absam, it is called Matschgerer, but in Thaur it is called the Mullerlauf (or Müllerlauf).

The witches (Hexen) were pretty cool and symbolize the winter.

They pick people out of the crowd, sweep their shoes with a broom, ruffle their hair, and give them a light slap on the back (after which they are offered a sip of schnaps).

Another group - the Klötzler - have lots of little wooden strips on them. they dance and shuffle about, making lots of noise.

"Miss Thaur" - not going to Miss World

A Tschaggeler with bright coloured balls all over the outfit (also handing out Schnaps).

A typical Tuxer representing the "normal" folk.

A ring of Tuxern with two Spiegeltuxern doing a shoe-slapping dance (Schuhplatteln).

It was lovely to see this spectacle and a great chance to experience a little more of the culture I am blessed to live in.

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