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"Zusslrennen"

"Zusslrennen"

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Thursday, 20.02.2020
The ‘Zusslrennen‘ is a unique custom taking place annually on the Thursday before the beginning of Lent on the village square in Prad am Stilfserjoch in the Vinschgau area.

The figure of the ‘Zussl‘ may only be portrayed by men from the village; these are dressed from head to toe in white, adorned with colourful masks and crepe-paper flowers and wear heavy cowbells weighing over 20 kilogrammes around their necks.

The procession has its roots in a fertility cult. Six men symbolising white horses begin by pulling an old wooden plough through the streets, then along comes the ‚leader‘ with the ‘Goaßl‘, urging the horses on and steering the plough.

Behind the ‚leader‘ comes the ‘sower’ with his basket, scattering sawdust over the spectators. Farmers and farmers‘ wives, servants, maids and finally the ‘Zoch und Pfott‘ couple follow on.

All these characters carry various agricultural instruments with them, symbolising the transition from the cold winter months to the warmer spring months.

The ‘Triebschellträger‘ leads a second procession. The ‘Triebschelle‘ bell is the heaviest of all ‘Zusslschellen‘. Following the impressive clanging of the bells come, in their white hats and masks, the ‘Zussln’, who lend the procession its name. Then, in their turn we see couples and the ‚leader‘, keeping the procession together with the ‘Goaßl‘.

The ‚Zusslrennen‘ is associated with ancient fertility rites. The ‘Zussln‘ carry on for hours with their clanging cowbells, driving out evil spirits and the winter cold and ‚waking‘ the corn in the hope of a good harvest.farm holidays in Prad am Stilfserjoch

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