These festivals and customs are still widespread in rural areas of Bavaria, in particular.
“Gockelholen”, “Good Friday rattles” and “Fuirspringe” – these are not gruesome methods of punishment from the century before last, but old Easter traditions and customs. These festivals and customs are still widespread in rural areas of Bavaria, in particular.
Good Friday rattles
As the church bells in many places are silent after mass on Maundy Thursday, the bell sound is replaced by “rattling” according to an old religious custom. Boys run through the streets or from door to door on Good Friday and Easter Saturday with wooden rattles and clappers to remind the village community of the start of the service. The Easter rattles are produced by hand by a few carpenters in Catholic areas. This tradition is widespread in Franconia and in smaller Catholic villages.
The village boys need a longer period to prepare for the annual “Fuirspringe” on Easter Saturday in Pfronten in the Allgäu, as the oyster mushrooms for this custom have to be completely dried. They are then attached to a large hazelnut or ash stick and wrapped in wire, so that the mushroom does not fall out. On Easter Saturday, the boys meet at seven o'clock with their mushrooms in the church, where the Easter fire is already blazing. When the priest has consecrated the fire, the boys set light to the oyster mushrooms and carry them from house to house in their village, in order to distribute individual “Zunzeln”, as they are known. The smoking mushrooms are supposed to keep misfortune away from your house and home.
“Oarscheibn” is a Bavarian custom which is maintained in the Chiemsee alpine region in particular. Two rakes or wooden sticks are traditionally laid next to one another on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, so that the Easter eggs can be rolled down through the channel that is created. The player whose egg rolls the furthest in the grass has won. There are a number of variations of this game. Sometimes, you try to push away the egg of an opponent by your own egg removing that of your opponent, and sometimes a coin is put in the place where the egg of the opponent has landed.
“Gockelholen” is a very old tradition which is still celebrated a lot in Bavaria. According to ancient custom, the young men of the village climb up to the windows of their sweethearts with ladders and collect little gifts. Only to the girls with whom they have danced in the previous year, of course. Whilst the young men used to have to take care not to be caught by the parents of their sweetheart, “Gockelholen” is now an event for which the girls prepare. Thus, they provide schnapps, Easter eggs and beer for the young men and take care of their physical well-being.