Narri! Narro! This was the call and response of the “fool’s greeting” that filled the streets of the medieval island town of Lindau Germany on the shores of Lake Constance. This ancient city that dates from 882 was filled with over 12,000 costumed parade participants for the largest Narrentreffen to celebrate the Schwabian-Alemannic Fasnacht. The Fasnacht or Carnival processions that take place throughout Southern Germany are considered as “the most original, wild, and authentic customs of the Fasnacht period” and due to their cultural and historical importance were recognized in 2014 by UNESCO as a Germany Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
This popular meeting is known to attract some of the best Fasnacht clubs throughout Bavaria, Switzerland, and Austria and they congregate on the island every fifteen years to join in this tradition that began in the Middle Ages. The celebration takes place before the Christian Lent that in earlier times allowed the masses to indulge in eating, drinking, and other temptations before the time of abstinence commenced. Witches, devils, wooden masked creatures, brass bands, and drill teams paraded through the maze of streets wielding and snapping whips, brooms, sabers, and pig bladders to a captivated audience as they rang, banged, and clanged to the brass band and drum beats. We satisfied our stomachs with savory and sweets treats topped off with some tasty prosecco. A good pagan time was had by all!