Entry Title: "Thee Egetmann Parade"
Name: Heinrich Wegmann , Italy
Category and Expertise: Culture|Night Photography|Deeper Perspective, Non-Professional
Entry Description: -
Story: The Egetmann Parade
Tramin – South Tirol/Italy
Every odd year a small village amidst the Dolomites awakes from its winter sleep. Just after the Magi, with nightfall, wild beings populate the streets. This is the proclamation of the marriage of the “Egetmann”,which takes place Shrove Tuesday. Every saturday the marriage company with the dragon like figures (Schnappviecher), announces the wedding of the “Egetmann” in every market place of the village. Going from fountain to fountain ,the pageant ends whith a big celebration at the main place of Tramin.
There is a figure connected to the pagan symbolism of spring and who drives away the winter: the “Schnappvieh” or “Wudele”, a sort of dragon without ears but with horns, and covered in skins. His lower jaw opens and closes with a loud noise, always on the lookout for prey. This dragon-like creature is two metres tall, and there is usually a whole group of them. They are always followed by the butcher who, at each of the stops at the many fountains, captures one of them and kills it, another ritual of spring banishing the bad spirits of winter.
Most commentators see in the Egetmann pageant and its characters references to ancient fertility rites and pre-Christian pagan sacrifices.
Nowadays the tendency is to see it as a Shrovetide explosion of joy before Ash Wednesday and the fasting period of Lent. Similar pageants are held all over the German-speaking world.
What we can say for sure is that the Egetmann pageant, with its origins in the medieval tradition of Shrove Tuesday (Mardi
Gras) symbolises the struggle between light and darkness, between good and evil, and the advent of spring and fertility.
Documented records go back to 1591, showing that this tradition existed in many places in the Lower Etsch Valley of South Tyrol. The first complete description of the pageant and the protocol in its present form dates back to 1876.
It’s a tradition which is being kept alive, but one which is not fossilised. Rather it is kept alive using a lot of imagination and a spirit of playfulness so that today’s pageant still maintains its vitality while continuing to include ancient rites.
The Egetmann Pageant is a very important social event for the whole village of Tramin. Paradoxical as it may seem, the pageant does not need spectators: it exists for the actors themselves, to have fun and to let their hair down. In this way it differs from the rather sterile carnival parades in some bigger cities.