Aperschnalzen

Aperschnalzen (in the south of Germany word "aper" means without snow) or schnalzen is a tradition of rhythmic whip cracking. It is quite popular in German state of Bavaria and in the Austrian state of Salzburg. Short-handled whips ("goaßln") used in aperschnalzen are more than 4 metres long. In its original form this tradition was meant to "wake up" the nature and "call" the good spirits to destroy the snow and winter cold. Whip cracking was sometimes done on the floor. In this case its purpose was to raise fertility.

Aperschnalzen
Aperschnalzen

Nowadays the aperschnalzen is performed by teams known as "passen". Each team traditionally has 7 or 9 members. There are tournaments where "passen" can compete. The season ("Schnalzerjahr") reaches its peak at the “Rupertigau-Preisschnalzen” tournament. It is held on the Sunday before carnival. In 2013 it will be on the 3rd of February. Every three years the tournament is organized in the Salzburg region. Otherwise the tournament is in Bavaria. More than 100 "passen" participate in this tournament.

There is also special tournament held every 10 years in Saaldorf, Bavaria. It is organized since 1954 in the local village hall. It offers high money prizes.