Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Traditional Funfair of Fuerth ("Kaerwa")

With its approximately 900-year-old tradition, the "Kaerwa" is one of the most important events in the Franconian festive calendar. Franks strongly identify with the numerous customs and rituals associated with the festival. Communities are actively involved in the organization and implementation. Today's practice also includes a harvest festival procession with more than 100,000 visitors. The Kaerwa combines ancient local traditions with contemporary cultural and social practices of the diverse population in Northern Bavaria.

Facts & figures

  • Crucial date: weekend after 29 September, the day of the Archangel Michael
  • Inscription: 2018
  • Domains: Social practices, rituals and festive events
  • Where to find: Fuerth (Franconia)

Contact

City archives and museums
Dr. Martin Schramm
martin.schramm@fuerth.de
www.michaelis-kirchweih.de

The annual celebration of the traditional funfair of Fuerth, also called “Kaerwa”, commemorates the inauguration of the city’s St. Michael’s Church in the 12th century. Today, it is one of the largest and long-standing funfairs in Germany.

Up to 1.5 million visitors attend diverse events in the course of twelve days. Numerous customs and rituals associated such as the proclamation of the commandment of peace or an ostentatious opening dance are maintained and passed on by a variety of associations and guilds. Practicing communities are actively involved in the organization and implementation of the festival. Despite its vast popularity, measures have been put into place to counteract an “over-commercialization”.

In addition to amusement offers, which have been an integral part of the “Kaerwa“ for centuries, the religious origin of the festival is still notable. On the eve of the opening and on the day of the harvest festival procession, traditions such as ecumenical services in the St. Michael's Church are practised and they demonstrate awareness of the roots of this festival and funfair.

Publication

Wissen. Können. Weitergeben..
Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission, 2019

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