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Munich's Top 10 : Traditions In & Around Munich - Top 10 Holidays & Celebrations

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On Shrove Tuesday, ski carnival is celebrated in the Alps. The best known is held at Firstalm – there’s a prize for the best costume.


Curling and a trial of strength called Fingerhakeln (finger wrestling) are traditional Bavarian sports.


  1. Schäfflertanz

    Every seven years, the Dance of the Coopers is performed to commemorate the end of the plague in the 1400s. The next one will take place in 2012.

    • Munich

    • during Fasching (carnival)

  2. Dance of the Market Wives

    Viktualienmarkt market women perform a dance in fancy dress.

    • Munich

    • Shrove Tuesday

  3. Starkbier Season

    Since “liquids don’t count during fast-time,” monks brewed a nourishing ale during the lenten fast, a tradition that has survived to this day. Bavaria’s “fifth season” is launched by the ceremonial breaching of bock beer barrels, the most famous being the Salvator breaching on Nockherberg.

    • Bavaria

    • Mar–Easter

  4. Maypole

    Most Bavarian towns and communities raise decorated Maypoles on 1 May, a custom dating back to the Middle Ages when the “tree of life” was thought to bring success. Overnight, the Maypole is guarded by local youths: If a Maypole is stolen, it has to be ransomed with many barrels of beer.

    • Bavaria

    • 1 May

    Raising of the Maypole
  5. Corpus Christi Procession

    Corpus Christi processions are held throughout southern Bavaria – the largest is in Munich – to mark this important Catholic feast day.

    • Thu after Trinity Sun

  6. Kocherl Ball

    Annual “Cook’s Ball,” where costumed couples dance a Bavarian waltz and polka at 6am at the foot of the Chinese Tower in the Englischer Garten. This tradition harks back to an annual ball for Munich’s domestic servants.

    • Munich, Englischer Garten

    • Jul

  7. Leonhardi Processions

    Bad Tölz, Schliersee, Murnau, and many Bavarian towns stage processions on horseback or in painted carts in honour of St Leonard, the patron saint of horses.

    • Oberbayern

    • 1st Sun in Nov

  8. Christkindlmarkt

    Wonderful Christmas markets with stalls, mulled wine, and treats. On Marienplatz and in many other areas of the city.

    • Bavaria

    • Advent to 24 Dec

  9. Alphorn, Yodeling & Schuhplattler

    The Alphorn was a means of communication between cow-herders across long distances, as was yodelling, which evolved into a style of singing. Young men danced the Schuhplattler – a folk dance involving much slapping of shoe soles. These traditions are a mainstay at regional folk festivals.

  10. Folk Dress

    Each region has its own distinctive folk dress, and folklore associations keep the tradition alive, parading regional costumes in processions and at festivals such as the Wiesn.

Top 10 Holidays & Celebrations

  1. New Year’s Eve

    Best places to enjoy the spectacular fireworks: Bavaria statue, Olympiaberg, high-rises, and the highest banks of the Isar.

  2. Epiphany

    During the week before 6 Jan, children dress up as the Three Magi and go door to door, collecting money for charity.

  3. Ash Wednesday

    Carnival (Fasching) is followed by a fasting period and the start of the bock beer season.

  4. Easter

    Easter egg hunts in Tierpark Hellabrunn and other locations.

  5. Labour Day

    The raising of the Maypole and union marches are on 1 May.

  6. Corpus Christi

    One of the most important days in the Bavarian Catholic calendar. Munich has a large procession.

  7. Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving and Kirchweih (consecration of churches) fall on the same day. The Auer Herbstdult often begins on Thanksgiving, as does the Almabtrieb, when the cattle are driven from Alpine summer pastures.

  8. All Saints’ Day

    On 1 Nov, graves are decorated and lanterns lit. Halloween is celebrated the night before.

  9. St Martin’s Day

    Children carry lanterns in processions led by a rider dressed as St Martin. Roast goose is traditional at dinner.

  10. Christmas

    Christkindl markets start on the first day of Advent. Midnight mass is held 24 Dec.

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