Carnival Customs in Tyrol

'Sweeping out' the winter

The term ‘Auskehren’ literally means ‘sweeping out’ and every year on Shrove Tuesday the highly popular tradition of ‘Auskehren’ takes place in Imst with a smaller-scale night-time carnival procession to mark the end of the festive season before the beginning of Lent. The main figures from the Schemenlaufen parade – the Roller and Scheller – do not take part. Instead, the witches are in the limelight under the auspices of the ‘Hexenmutter’ – the mother of witches – who also ranks as the procession’s highest authority. The witches are accompanied by ‘Zinter’ – Altfrank figures carrying lanterns to shine a little light on the dark goings-on – as well as ‘Wiflig’ figures, a group


of bears and several ‘Labara’ groups. The latter go from one inn to the next comically reporting with rhyme, song and pictures on all the bungling and botching that went on over the past year in Imst that the public was not supposed to know about! A unique part of the ‘Auskehren’ tradition is the so-called Zurfen – one of the spectators grabs hold of a witch’s broom and the two pull as hard as they can, measuring their strength against one another. The spectator usually loses – but exceptions do occur. In earlier times any witches who lost were locked by their opponent into a barn (of which there used to be many in the centre of Imst) and not let out until Ash Wednesday…


Programme 16.02.2021

  • Imst - CANCELLED!
    17:45 Procession start at the Lainplatzl, from the lower town to the upper town
    20:00 Procession starting from Hotel Hirschen, from the upper town back to the lower town

  • Tarrenz
    The traditional ‘Auskehren’ procession with the ‘burning-of-the-witch’ ritual takes places every year on Shrove Tuesday at 19:00. The procession starts from the primary school/Café Käfer car park and moves on to the village square.

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