Der Maschgertanz ist ein althergebrachter Faschingsbrauch in Prad am Stilfserjoch, doch niemand kennt seinThe masked ball is a time-honoured carnival custom in Prad am Stilfserjoch, but no one knows its exact origins or its deeper meaning. Perhaps it is a kind of wedding procession or a dance of death. In any case, it is one of South Tyrol’s carnival spectacles.
The masqueraders (“Maschger”) perform on Shrove Sunday, Rose Monday and Shrove Tuesday under the leadership of a “Bajaz”. Good-humoured, high-spirited couples masked for carnival make the village unsafe and move from inn to inn. There they dance and joke according to set rituals.
The “Maschger” consist of a total of eight couples: Mr and Mrs, Farmer and Farmer’s Wife, Steyrer and Steyrerin, Tuxner and Tuxnerin, Zillertaler and Zillertalerin, Mohr and Mohrin, Tschigeiner and Tschigeinerin and Zoch and Pfott.
As soon as the “Maschger” enter an inn, the “Bajaz”, who is easily recognisable by his chequered costume, ruff and colourfully decorated pointed hat, opens the dance. Behind him, the eight couples wait in rows of two for their entrance. The last couple are “Zoch and Pfott”, the two coarsest figures. They are dressed in rags and obviously demonstrate fertility.