"Roller" and "Scheller" at the Imst Schemenlauf Parade, © Tirol Werbung/Bernhard Aichner
"Roller" and "Scheller" at the Imst Schemenlauf Parade, © Tirol Werbung/Bernhard Aichner

Magical & Mystical: Carnival in Tirol

Carnival season includes some of the most important folk events of Tirol. Long past rites and customs are still lived here and include an array of magical and anxiously awaited spectacles. And if you are going to be in Tirol during the Carnival period, then you must definitely check out some of these unique spectacles.

Nowhere else will you find so many diverse and deeply entrenched Carnival traditions as in Tirol. The Carnival season celebrates the natural changes of seasons. As with many Tirolean carnival customs, the festive parades are symbolic of the fight between the winter and the spring. In long past times, human survival was dependent on the pattern of the seasons, from spring to winter, from seedtime to harvest. The early festivals originated in celebration of this natural wonder. In order to ensure that the pattern of seasons would not fail, rites and ceremonies dedicated to the different gods were devised.

As spring is the season of hope, spring festivals were joyous occasions in celebration of the rebirth of nature. Carnival customs reflect this happiness in singing, dancing, flowers, and jokes. There will be fleets of elaborately designed floats which caricature both, regional goings-on and ancient traditions. And many a visitor ends up on one of these floats to share a drink with the carnival characters. Tirol has many great and joyous Shrovetide celebrations and parades.

4 · Muller & Matschgerer Runs Around Innsbruck and Hall


The “Muller and Matschgerer” Run in the greater Innsbruck Area, © Tirol Werbung/Bernhard Aichner

Another Tirolean carnival custom, deeply steeped in tradition, includes the “Muller and Matschgerer” Run, which is especially popular in the greater Innsbruck Area. A huge crowd rallies to these events, often in freezing temperatures, and thousands of locals and guests sing and dance on the streets, awaiting the appearance of the first carnival floats with their dazzling lights, bright colors and electrifying energy. The most characteristic mask characters are the so-called “Zottler”, “Zaggler”, “Klötzler”, “Melcher” and “Spiegeltuxer”, dressed up in brilliant colors to better attract the attention of the passers-by. The tradition-conscious communities in Rum, Thaur, Absam and Mils organise a large procession every second year.

Upcoming Events: Rumer Mullerlaufen: February 24, 2019 im Rum; Milser Matschgerer-Umzug: February 16, 2020 in Mils

5 · Fiss Blochziehen


Fiss Blochziehen, © TVB Serfaus Fiss Ladis/Andreas Kirschner

One of the most original carnival celebrations in Tirol is the “Blochziehen” event that is held every four years in Fiss. This custom is deeply rooted in tradition as it dates back to medieval times. The focal point of this original fertility cult is the “Bloch”, an impressive 30 meters long pine log that is pulled through the village by masked revelers. The elaborate ceremony symbolizes the plough breaking up the ground in spring for sowing. These Shrovetide celebrations carry on until late afternoon and end with a public auction for this valuable piece of stone pine timber.

Upcoming Event: “Blochziehen” in Fiss in 2022

 

Go up
Is your inbox in need of a holiday?

Then subscribe to our weekly newsletter full of exclusive holiday tips from Tirol!