The sky is cloudy and it seems like it is about to rain, but the winter cold does not discourage those who gather to watch the Carnival parade. They seem not even to notice the freezing weather. During this period, which is commonly called “the fourth season of the year”, Freiburg fills up with devils, demons, witches, and other terrifying masks. When we think about the Carnival, we imagine an explosion of colours and smiling and playful characters. However, we risk being disappointed seeing the monstrous creatures of this parade. The difference with other festivities is great, and yet the Fasnet (carnival) of Freiburg is an event that every year fascinates tourists and visitors with its uniqueness. In addition to this, it is one of the most popular and beloved festivals among the inhabitants, since it is one of the oldest, and therefore, one of the most rooted in the popular traditional culture.
Black Forest Carnival: An Event with Ancient Origins
The original meaning of the Fasnet was to drive away the spirits of the winter season and welcome the imminent spring. That explains the use of the terrible masks, whose task is to scare the winter ghosts.
Although the event begins in the month of January, the culmination of the festival is the parade on the Shrove Monday, which takes place in the historical city centre. These masks finely carved in the wood meander through the alleys of the Altstadt accompanied by the rhythmic Guggenmusik.
The spectators, especially children, are rewarded with sweets and candies distributed during the parade. On one side, these characters are cheerful and big-hearted, but on the other side, you better be careful not to get stolen by the spiteful witches who have fun by scaring adults and kids with lots of jokes.
A Taste of Freiburg
For those who would like to chill in a cosy and warm café, Freiburg offers a great number of places where to enjoy a slice of the delicious Kirschtorte of the Black Forest.
Freiburg is not only Carnival and pastry shops, though. It also is a town that boasts unique treasures. Close to the Swiss and French borders, on the southwestern part of Germany, it is the most famous and charming city in the Black Forest. The medieval Swabian Alemannic town is a place deeply linked to the history and traditions of the past. At the same time, it is one of the most important university centres in the country, and it attracts young students from all over the world.
Freiburg is the perfect combination of lively cultural life, rich nature and other wonders. It is a mixture of new and ancient, and every aspect of the city reflects this characteristic. Alongside stylish buildings inspired by modern architecture, there are romantic parks and gardens, historic houses, cuckoo craft shops, and narrow cobbled alleys. Step by step, these narrow streets lead to the heart of Freiburg: the Cathedral of Our Dear Lady, which dominates the whole city with the spire of its high bell tower.
The Greenest City in Germany
Another interesting aspect of Freiburg is the attention dedicated to energy saving and to the use of renewable energy sources. It is no coincidence that access to the historic centre is forbidden to cars; as a result, people are encouraged to use public transportation, especially bicycles.
To find out more about the environmental practices, Vauban offers a clear idea of what the community did to promote eco-friendly behaviours. This place was made up of French barracks in the past, and only in recent years it was completely transformed into a welcoming, family-friendly neighbourhood. Its peculiarity comes from its houses, designed in such a way as to reduce emissions and exploit rainwater; solar panels also help taking advantage of sunlight. Walking through the streets of the district, it is possible to notice how the green areas are protected, and how a simple lifestyle can be at the same time extremely innovative.
When in Freiburg, you will immediately share the love for nature and for the eco-friendly lifestyle. In fact, the city is surrounded by a wonderful landscape with forests, lakes, mountains, hills, and vineyards.