Carnival in Triberg

For one week every year the city Triberg changes to a crazy city and everybody is dressed up. In the so-called fifth season of the year, the people in Triberg are celebrating carnival, which is a spectacle for everyone.

Carnival in Triberg has a long tradition which started already in 1525. Since then Triberg has their costumes as well. The reason for Carnival is to drive out the winter through the so-called “crazy days”. 

The background of carnival is out of the Christian faith, which was forbidden up to the 19th century because of several wars and the changing governments. To the end of the 19th century, carnival become again meaningful in southern Germany. Also Triberg admitted carnival again and therefore the carnival associations “Stabhalterei Freiamt” in 1868 and the “Narrengemeinde Oberstadt” in 1900 were founded. In the end the main association of carnival the “Narrenzunft Triberg” was founded in 1928, who brought back the traditional costumes and member of the “Swabian Alemannic fool association”.


Costumes of Triberg:

The main association has four costumes, which hadn´t changed a lot since they were created and are now one of the oldest costumes in southern Germany.



The devil of Triberg is the main costume and already more than 120 years old. The devil´s mask was created and carved the first time in 1893 by Friedrich Pfarrer. At this time there have been already two other costumes: The “red fox” and the “Federeschnabel”.

After the Second World War carnival got more popular and therefore the Narrenzunft and the major decided to give the order to carve more devil´s masks. The “red fox” and the “Federeschnabel” are still single figures. The well-known carver Manfred Merz carved next to the devil´s mask the first time the mask of the “Spättle” after a photo. Nowadays there are approximately 500 devil´s costumes and 80 Spättle in the main association.


The traditional masks of the city:

The Devil:

The face of the devil is red and has black horns, hair and a black thin beard. Through the smiling mouth you can see his white tooth. On the head of the devil is a fox tail attached, which is laterally hanging down on his mask. The whole costume is black and has black braids. He also has a black ruffle and two belts with 11 bells each. The last detail is the whip in his hand.


The Spättle:

The mask of the Spättle is smooth, beige and has red cheeks. There are approximately 800 textile rags on the trousers and jacket. This costumes includes also a white ruffle and a large shear of wood. Each Spättle has to be applied at the main association. After the permission the owner has two years to complete the Spättle. 


The Federeschnable:

The bird mask is not out of wood but out of metal. It is an old costumes which is already listed in books from the middle ages. This costume only exists once and is full of artificial feathers in red, blue and yellow.


The Red Fox: 

Until 1952 the mask of the red fox has been smooth. The costume of the fox is red and has partially real fox skins on it. He is also wearing the same whip in his hand as the devil does.


The carnival days:

Carnival is every year for one week and starts one week before Wednesday (“Aschermittwoch”). Children are searching for the carnival doll on Wednesday, which is going to be hang-up on the marketplace by the Narrenzunft. Afterwards the mayor of Triberg has to leave the town hall and the Narrenzunft is governing the city over the carnival days.

On the following Thursday the pupils are released from school by the Narrenzunft so they can join the children parade on 3 pm. In this parade are many different masquerade groups walking through the city. As soon as it gets dark in Triberg the traditional devils parade begins. Only the original devil costumes are involved and everyone is carrying a torch. All the street lights are turned off and red torches are standing next to the street. Afterwards they is a big party in the whole city.

The next carnival event takes place on Sunday. The residents are woken up through the “Radautrommlern” and their load drums. After everybody is awake the big parade starts at 2 pm where different masquerade groups are joining. Many costumes are handmade in this parade. The last ones in this parade are the original masks of the association. The devils are having their devils car with them and are trying to catch a viewer to bring him into that car. But it is not terrible, because everybody who was in that car gets only a black face and even a little present.

The carnival week ends at Tuesday and everybody is of course sad about it. The last parade with torches goes to the marketplace where the carnival doll gets burned. Everybody is wearing white nightdresses. The only happy person at this evening is the mayor, because he is now getting his town hall back. If you are a part of this event, you will also have a little tear in your eye.

The last happening is going to be on Wednesday, where we are having, all dressed in black, a meal all together.  

Be part of this event, Triberg is not only a beautiful city, the carnival days are mixed up between tradition and fun. It will be an adventure you will never forget and many earlier visitors are coming back every year.



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