Carnival in Termeno: the Egettmann parade


If you are in South Tyrol during Carnival, you can not beat the original Egettmann parade in Termeno.

Description of the parade and the main characters

The parade is opened by the trumpeter, followed by farmers on horseback and their labourers and by farmers brandishing long whips (‘Ausschnöller’). These are then followed by the stewards whose job it is to keep the route of the pageant clean and free of obstruction. Behind them come all the rest of the farmers with their ancient implements for working the land, accompanying a cart containing seed-corn (symbolically depicted by wood-shavings, hay and dust). In turn these are followed by the central character, the Egetmannhansl, a dummy in a black jacket, top hat and white gloves travelling in an open carriage, accompanied by his servant. In front, next to the driver sits the bride, transforming the parade into a marriage procession. As in Shakespeare’s time, female characters can only be played by men dressed up as women!

It is strictly forbidden for the bride to quench her thirst by drinking wine; instead she is allowed to drink as much schnapps as she wants!

Behind the nuptial carriage come the councillors, the local dignitaries, each with a symbolic object: the Book of Protocol, a ladder, an umbrella, and two candlesticks (each composed of a wooden stick with a corn-cob as a candle). This group of dignitaries, dressed in black with top hats, is preceded by the town-crier.

It is a wedding procession consisting of a cart on which there is a straw puppet, the Egettmannhansl, followed by a carriage with the couple.

Carnival in Termeno: the Egettmann parade

The parade can be played exclusively by men, who will also play female roles.

The show opens with a bugler, followed by farmers on horseback and their servants, a group of peasants waving whips, “Ausschnöller”, followed by the roadmenders, with the task of keeping clean and uncluttered path. Behind, the rest of the peasant population with the farmers tools.

Together with the bride and groom, walking, the main people of the village, in a dark suit, carrying the protocol log, a series of verses goliardic recounting the events of the past year. While everyone can drink wine at will, the bride can only drink grappa!

Carnival in Termeno: the Eg

The parade continues with a series of floats and characters from tradition and paganism.

The Wilder Mann, one of the few characters in the parade wearing a rabbit fur mask with two holes for the eyes that gives him an awful look, ragged covered with ivy leaves, followed by the hunter, who eventually shot and killed him, that symbolically represent the end of winter and the coming of spring.

Another figure linked to pagan symbolism is the “Schnappvieh” or “Wudele“, a kind of crocodile without ears, covered with skins and horns, with big mandibles; this dragon is more than two meters high and is often represented with a group of people. The monster is always followed by a butcher who, at every stop closed to the fountains, capture a member of the group and kills him, that represent the closing cycle of bad winter driven by good spring.

Burgl” and “Burgltreiber“, a woman with bound feet from corn leaves, with a basket on her back with a doll inside, trying to escape a man holding a stick to beat her. She tryied to seek herself in every house, but the man drags on her. Again it is the symbolic driven from home of the evil spirits of winter.

The traditional part of the parade ends with the old mill, which grinds older women and returns them young and beautiful, accompanied by the chariot of virgins and “Zenzi” who does not want to become adult. The parade is repeated in all the odd-numbered years, as is traditional.

Carnival in Termeno: the Eg

The parade will be held on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, at 13.00. Do not miss!

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