Groppenfasnacht in Ermatingen (TG)


Laetare Sunday

During Lent, three weeks before Easter, the Thurgovian village of Ermatingen celebrates its Groppenfasnacht, or fish carnival. The carnival gets its name from the main character of the event, the Gropp, a fish, 10-15 cm in length, which is caught only in the  Ermatingen area. In earlier times, the local lake often froze. Fishermen therefore greeted  the breaking of the ice in the spring and the return to their jobs as fishermen with a special celebration.

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Every three years, a Gropp committee made up of village inhabitants organizes with the help of many of their fellow citizens a large procession. The children, dressed up in all kinds of costumes, e.g. as dwarfs and frogs, follow behind the float carrying a huge, homemade Gropp. Several men also march along, carrying fishing tools used in earlier times. Satirical and springtime themes complete the procession.

In the two years separating the large processions, the youth of the village organize their own smaller version of it. They try to copy their parents and, in so doing, make sure the custom is passed down from one generation to the next.

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