(pron. FAHST-NAWcht) The day before Lent in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Celebrated with masquerades, carnivals, and ceremonials. Prince Carnival presides over a Fools Court surrounded by councilors wearing high peaked hats and a badge of the Order of the Fools. Part of the Lord of Misrule. The days leading up to Lent are Die närrische Saison: The Foolish Season or die fünfte Jahrzeit: Fifth Season that is recorded from Elften im Elften: The Eleventh in the Eleventh: November 11 at 11:11am: Martinmass-Old Halloween to Aschenmittwoch: Ash Wednesday, Fasching. Lent itself is called Fastenzeit: Fast Time.
Crazy Thursday, six days before fast night, is the Schellenrühren: Bell Ringing Parade in Mittenwald. The Klausjagen Festival in Küssnacht, Switzerland features cowbells. Colognes Karneval parade is the day before fast night on Rosenmontag: Rose Monday. Rhineland Rosenmontagumzug: floats are broadcast yearly on German TV. The central float is known as a Hell in Nürnberg.
On Tuesday Munichs Viktualienmarkt holds the Marktfrauentanz: Market Women Dance. The Münchner Francaise, a 19th century contra dance, is danced at midnight. The Coopers Guild dances the Schäfflertanz: Hoop Dance on the Marienplatz once every seven years. Legend says after the plague of 1463 the coopers were the first people in the streets who tried to lure people out of their houses with revelry. It is danced for a month.
Austria has survived Empress Maria Theresias (1717-1780) ban on outdoor masquerades by moving them inside. Vienna is famous for having more than 300 balls. Hofburg Castle hosts the: Emperors Ball, Rudolfina-Redoute, Aerzteball: Physician's Ball, and the Vienna Kaffesieder: Coffee Brewers Ball. Viennas town hall has the Blumenball: Flower Ball; Musikverein hosts the Philharmonic, and the Zuckerbäcker: Confectioners Ball is at Austria Center. Musentempels Opernball: Opera Ball is for VIPs from around the world. (9, 12, 13)