Swabian-Alemannic carnival in Rottweil

Last Updated on March 31, 2023

Rottweil is one of the major centers (Hochburg) of the Swabian-Alemannic carnival. This Swabian-Alemannic carnival is a separate form, and for good reason. The differences from the Rhenish carnival are significant: no candy throwing, no moving platforms, no “guards” in miniskirts, but masks actively pester the audience.

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The Swabian-Allemanic carnival takes place in the cities of the Swabian Alb and the Black Forest.

The carnival in Rottweil is also different in that they do not let stranger masks go into the procession, only their original ones, which, of course, is curious, but for the tourists it is less attractive. If you want more variety, so choose better Ulm.

Nevertheless, the carnival in Rottweil is very popular. The procession takes place three times:
in Rosenmontag at 8 am,
on Tuesday at 8 am and at 2 pm.
This is not counting the children’s carnival and accompanying events.

The procession passes along the Main Street of the old city. In Rottweil, it descends at a decent slope down to the Neckar.

Some masks and costumes come from the Baroque era – 17-18 centuries, others appeared in the 19th century. Masks are made from linden, covered with oil.

The procession is opened by riders and an orchestra. The city’s unofficial colors are yellow and black, which is why many residents wear two-tone hats, scarves, umbrellas, etc.

The younger generation in the form of clowns. With their soft brushes, they thrust into the face, waiting for some kind of reaction. God knows what it is, but it seems that you have to shout or sing local carnival songs.

The carnival call is not Helau at all, but something owl-like (the average between the cry of an owl and an Indian) – U-hoo-hoo! And the song is like Ole-ole-ole! For the correct reaction, they can put a candy in the hood or put it in an open mouth (they don’t give it to their hands).

Clowns make way for masks. The masks are mixed, the orchestras do not go with them: they stand on platforms along the street at an equal distance from each other.

The oldest are male masks “white jesters” Gschell – with a smooth face, white clothes, painted with village figures and heavy bells. On the head are three fox tails.

Another old character – devil, in the version of Rottweil – “cock feathers” (Federhahnes). The devil has fangs, a stick on which he jumps quite high and with which he sticks to the audience. It was not possible to take a photo of the jump in the crowd, they do it unexpectedly.

carnival in Rottweil

Devils are very fond of stealing a hat and giving it to another person.

A later version of the white jester is the “biter” (Biss), with a wrinkled face and a grin.

Schantle is also a very old mask (probably medieval). However, Schantle used to wear a simple costume and carried a broom. From the 19th century, the costume with an umbrella was developed.


The female version of the white jester (Fransenkleid). Derived from the hussar suit in the 18th century.

At the beginning and end of the procession there are beaters: a figure of a horseman (Benner) and two jesters with whips. Whips snap like pistol shots. The beaters often hit the feather on the horseman’s hat, so that at the end of the procession only one skeleton remains from the feather. The rider pretends to be bewildered, frightened, tries to hide from the audience, asks for pity, pulls out a “protector” for himself from the crowd.

This is what the procession looks like from the outside.

Less historically accurate, but more diverse and lively, is the procession in Ulm, about which in the next topic.

What else to see in Rottweil and around it – on the map of attractions:
Black Forest (Middle)
Swabian Alb

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