Visit a traditional Fest in Germany

Categories: Entertainment

Parade at the beginning of a Bavarian Schützenfest
Parade at the beginning of a Bavarian Schützenfest

[ source: Flickr]

Have you ever been interested in taking part in a traditional "fest" in Germany? The festive season has begun in Germany. From May until October all over the county — from the smallest villages to the capital cities — there are Kirchweihen (marksmen’ festivals) and so called Schützenfeste (Kermesse festivals) talking place everywhere. There is no better way to get to know the German celebratory culture and to really understand the meaning of the infamous German term Gemütlichkeit than by experiencing one of these local festivals - and live like a German> during your special Germany vacation ....

There are a couple of those traditional fests in Germany that are pretty big and attract thousands of visitors from all over the country, if not the whole world. The biggest Schützenfest in the world has been taken place for almost the last 500 years every July in Hanover. More than two million visitors are expected to participate in this giant event in 2010. The greatest Kirchweih in Southern Germany is the Michaelis Kirchweih in Fürth (Fürth vacation rentals | Fürth travel guide), which happens in October and traditionally is the last one of those festivals of the season. Both festivals are great alternatives for people who love the Oktoberfest in Munich (Munich vacation rentals | Munich travel guide) but cannot make it there or simply want to experience this kind of festival in a different town just for the sake of it.

However, if you actually want to get a sense of German traditions and culture, it is best to pick a Schützenfest, Kirchweih, or Kirmes in any small town. In many rural communities these festivals mark the cultural highlight of the year. The local Church and various clubs come together to prepare for the big event. Women outdo themselves by baking wonderful cakes that are sold, the local brewery donates specially brewed beer and children decorate the local church or chapel with flowers or embellish the wagon in which the King of Marksmen is paraded through town at the beginning of the Schützenfest. These smaller festivals usually only last for three or four days but on those few days in the year the whole town comes to a standstill. The population takes a break from everyday life and comes together to enjoy amazing homemade food and beer, listen and dance to live music and engage in stimulating conversations.

If you spend your summer vacation in Germany, it is almost guaranteed that a Schützenfest, Kirchweih, or Kirmes takes place somewhere within a radius of 30 miles from where you are at during the time of your stay. Just check the local newspapers to find out where to find the closest traditional "fests" in Germany.

About this Article

Kathrin Wagner

This travel guide has been written by Kathrin Wagner.

She grew up in a small town in Bavaria and then studied Media studies, Literature and History in Erlangen and Munich. As a student she already spent half a year in London and moved back there after graduation in 2006. She is still living in London, where she works in publishing.

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Germany, Germany

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Opening Hours

  • Schützenfest in Hanover: 2nd July until 11th July 2010
  • Michaelis Kirchweih in Fürth: 2nd October until 13th October 2010

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