A very special Tirolean carnival custom, deeply steeped in tradition, is the annual “Wampelerreiten” at Axams near Innsbruck, held once again this February.
The small village of Axams, set above Innsbruck, is famous for its annually scheduled “Wampelerreiten” on Crazy Thursday, where young men wearing black hats, latticed masks and white shirts, padded out with hay, parade across the village. The result of the fight between the so-called “Wampeler” (meaning “fat-bellied”) and the Riders, who aim at soiling the white shirts, is taken to determine the year’s harvest in advance: The more “Wampeler” manage to get through with clean shirts, the richer the harvest is supposed to be. The most characteristic mask characters of Axams are the so-called “Wampeler”, “Tuxer”, “Flitscheler”, “Nadln” and “Buijazzln”, dressed up in brilliant colors to better attract the attention of the passers-by. The spectacle begins around noon on the village square.
The Axams “Wampelerreiten” was declared a “World Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO in 2016.