Customs and traditions forge a community
People looking to experience ancient customs and living traditions will find Bavaria is exactly the right place to be. Here, visitors can enjoy a wide array of arts, festivals and customs. Many of them have been recognised by the German UNESCO Commission as “intangible cultural heritage”.
Intangible cultural heritage: Bavaria’s festivals
World-famous festivals include the Passion Play Oberammergau, at which every ten years around half the population of Oberammergau comes together to represent the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Local residents have been continuing this tradition for around 380 years and it now attracts visitors from all over the world to the Bavarian Alps. The next occasion will take place in 2020.
However, there are numerous other festivals in Bavaria that have been classified as intangible cultural heritage:
- including the Landshut Wedding,
- Furth’s Drachenstich Festival (Slaying of the Dragon),
- the Kinderzeche in Dinkelsbühl
- and the Michaelis-Kirchweih in Fürth.
Lively customs are also practiced:
- during the Leonhardifahrt in Bad Tölz
- the Lindenkirchweih fair in Limmersdorf and
- the Georgiritt in Traunstein
Youngest members of the intangible cultural heritage in Bavaria are:
- the Hofer Schlappentag, one of the oldest guild festivals in Germany
- and the Sebastiani festival in Oberschwarzach.
One thing they all have in common is the fact that the inhabitants use their free time to plan and execute them with great passion and immense dedication.
Intricate time changes and nimble fingers
Dancing and music are an important part of Bavaria’s cultural heritage. One traditional Bavarian dance is called the “Zwiefache”. Musicians usually play live at dance evenings – and their intricate time changes are a thing of wonder.
Many of Bavaria’s craftspeople and artists use traditional techniques. In the Franconian towns of Lichtenfels and Michelau you can marvel at the nimble fingers of the weavers. Or be amazed at the delicate doilies and braids made by the lacemakers of the Oberpfälzer Wald. The skill of the church painters and glass blowers has also been singled out by the German UNESCO Commission as especially worthy of preservation.
Traditionally good: beer and cheese from Bavaria
If you fancy a cold beer after so much culture, then you could benefit from what is probably the most famous cultural heritage of Bavaria: the Bavarian brewing tradition in accordance with the beer purity law. The community brewing as well as the serving and consumption of the artisan brewed beer is characteristic for the Upper Palatinate Zoigl culture. Or you could try a tasty piece of Allgäu cheese: The Alpine economy of the Allgäu Alps is still, as it was a hundred years ago, all about finding a balance between agriculture and nature – and was also added to the UNESCO list in 2017.
One visit is nowhere near enough to discover the intangible cultural heritage of Bavaria. Of the current 68 UNESCO designations, 26 are from Bavaria – more than any other German state. The beauty of this cultural treasure is that, where people bring their traditions to life and pass them on from one generation to the next, the customs are constantly changing – and there is always something new to discover.