Insiders guide to Fasching in Franconia

28 Jan

Are you thinking ’What the heck is Fasching?’ well look no further, I blogged last year about the basics and I’ve had some requests for an ‘Insiders guide’ so here it is…

Fasching is the pre lenten fasting party time of craziness that sweeps across Germany and is celebrated hardest in the Catholic regions, of which Franconia is one! Officially the Fasching period begins on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 minutes past 11, (as a Brit this is a little strange to me). In reality, here in Franconia, this is when the behind the scenes works starts in planning for Fasching, you will only see signs of Fasching after the 7th January, Dreikönigstag (Three Kings day) and suddenly all the bakeries are filled with Krapfen (Donuts) and shops are filled with costumes and party supplies.

The actual date of Easter dictates when Fasching parties and parades will happen, the biggest week is the one preceding Ash Wednesday. Schools, Kindergartens and workplaces will be full of costumes, it’s pretty funny to try and talk to your bank manager with a straight face when he’s dressed as Batman.

Faschingsdienstag, Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day to Brits and Fat Tuesday to my US friends is the last hurrah before your lenten fast (if you’re Catholic anyway), as well as a parade (see recommendations below) your town may also bury/burn a Nubbel. A Nubbel is a straw dolly which symbolises the sins of the Fasching season, and it’s an excuse to continue the party with a BBQ until Ash Wednesday arrives.

Just a note here for all tie wearing men, on Weiberfastnacht (the Thursday preceding Ash Wednesday) wear your least favourite tie or perhaps just leave your tie at home. This day is Women’s Carnival and you could have your tie snipped off by any woman at any time, now you have a use for that awful tie the mother in law gave you last Christmas!

How to get there

Since Faschings parades tend to attract a lot of visitors parking can be scarce (and also far away) so using public transport is usually best, but do plan in advance since roads are closed for the parade to travel through the respective towns.

For up to date travel information check out VGN and Deutsche Bahn.

What to wear

Anything and everything. It’s February so be sensible, standing on the side of the road for a few hours means that dressing warmly is essential, not that this should mean that you can’t wear a costume though. Most kids wear their costume over their outdoor gear, whilst the adults who don’t go in for a costume will have some form of ‘fun’ head gear, don’t forget your deeley boppers people!

Excellent chicken parents!

Excellent chicken parents!

Useful to know

You might also hear Fasching referred to as Fastnacht or Karneval, they all mean the same thing and are purely regional variations.

Get used to hearing HELLLLOOOOOO over and over again, it’s actually a carnival greeting of Helau!


If you are offended by the unpolitically correct, don’t go to a Fasching parade. Quite honestly this is just ‘the German way’, you can always close your eyes.

Sweets and treats will be thrown from the floats and by the parade participants, take a bag to collect any that you want, you may even get handed a free beer or headbutt a flying Krapfen (true story).

The parade in Cologne is the biggest and usually held on the Monday (Rosenmontag) before Ash Wednesday, it is attended by over a million people, it is televised though, so you can enjoy it from the comfort of your sofa.


Faschingzug in Neunkirchen am Brand (Fasching parade Neunkirchen am Brand) takes place on Tuesday 17th February 2015 starts at 2pm and is the biggest in the area, attracting more than 10000 visitors.

Starting the parade off right!

The 45th annual Brucker Faschingszug (Erlangen Bruck Fasching parade) takes place on Sunday 15th February 2015 starts at 2pm from Erlangen Bruck Marktplatz. The parade snakes it’s way around the town and back again, find yourself a spot and set up there, it will be pretty busy everywhere close to 2pm so arrive early to bag a good spot.

The lovely people at Nürnberg Zoo are providing free entry to any child (13 and under) who visits dressed as a zoo animal on the 16th&17th February 2015.

The details

Watching a Fasching parade is completely free.

You can bring any food or drink you wish to the parade, bakeries tend to get very busy and plenty shut whilst the parade is actually on.  Last year I was drinking Sekt and eating Krapfen, the year before it was sausages and beer.

Here’s a peek at what to expect in Erlangen Bruck in a few weeks…


5 Responses to “Insiders guide to Fasching in Franconia”

  1. BerLinda January 28, 2015 at 10:53 pm #

    My friend is going to Karneval but I had no idea what the reasons behind it were! Interesting post!

    • Alie C January 30, 2015 at 9:29 am #

      Thanks, you should try it!

  2. Jürgen Hubert April 15, 2015 at 9:36 am #

    Using the word “Fasching” in Köln might get you lynched there. 😉

    • Alie C April 21, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

      I have friends in Köln who leave at Karneval time because it’s so crazy.


  1. Pancakes and krapfen – Starting over in Stuttgart - February 9, 2016

    […] (possibly still scarred from last year) in Baden-Württemberg and haven’t even made it to a Fasching parade in […]

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