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Living Tradition

Our historical cultural treasures are very important to us – as is the need to foster our deeply-rooted customs. We keep these old traditions alive with pride. During the festival weeks of July and August and on public holidays we wear richly decorated traditional costumes. Even outside of these times, it's not unusual to see people dressed in this way; for many locals, traditional dress is still considered everyday clothing.

Fasching (Carnival)

On the 6th January of each year the time has come again: In the streets the sound of merry cheering and the rhythmic stamping of feet can be heard. Assorted characters with hand-carved wooden masks parade from inn to inn, accompanied by music and mayhem. The “Maschkera” are on the move!

With grotesque masks and plenty of noise they drive away the evil spirits and winter. Particular highlights are the clownish goings-on of “Nonsensical Thursday” as well the events on Carnival Sunday and Shrove Tuesday.

"Festwochen" Festival
For more than half a century, our "Heimatwochen" (local weeks) in July and August have been one of the highlights of the year. You can look forward to processions, national costume groups, "Schuhplattler" (the Bavarian traditional folk dance), "Goaßlschnalzer" (whipcrackers) and stone lifters. And, of course, all of this done to celebrations and dancing. Feel the great atmosphere and absorb the good mood! Traditionally, the Festwochen start with the shooting of small cannons.

In the beautifully decorated beer halls, you will experience authentic tradition: the locals’ traditional costumes, songs and dances. Here, a traditional beer and a traditional hearty snack are served.

And then, it is your turn: After the "Heimatabend" (local evening), you can show how much Bavarian temper you have during the open dance.


Elaborate painted motifs adorn the façades of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and give our town a very particular charm. Take a stroll along the alleyways and you'll discover a wide variety of motifs. Above all along the historic Ludwigstraße you can marvel at one masterly decorated house after another.

The designs are often either biblical in nature, or depict scenes of farming life. Meandering thus along the streets of Garmisch-Partenkirchen there's one name you'll encounter again and again: Heinrich Bickel, the famous “Fresco Painter of Werdenfels”. Originally trained as an ornamental painter, he later learned the art of fresco painting on his long travels through Italy and Spain. His extraordinarily vivid and colourful motifs can be admired all over Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Suspender Embroidery

Artfully embroidered suspenders/braces are an important part of the traditional Werdenfels costume for men. The embroidery itself is a painstaking task, which can often take months. Particular favourites are rose motifs, with several roses in different shades of red – framed by leaves in shades of green and smaller, multi-coloured flowers. The “stirrup” is usually adorned with an emblem representing a particular part of the region.

Schäfflertanz (Cooper's Dance)

The “Cooper's Dance” is an occurrence as infrequent as it is impressive. This custom has been in existence in Partenkirchen since 1834 and takes place only once every seven years – the next dance will be in 2019.

Its origin goes back to the beginning of the 16th century, at which time the plague was spreading fear and terror. The barrel-makers were the first to dance again in the streets wearing their traditional costume, and so begin to restore a sense of hope and joy.

Since the trade of the barrel-maker has now almost completely died out, the Cooper's Dance has also come to represent the continuation of a part of local history. On this day every seven years, around 100 men dance in traditional cooper's costume: Drummers and marching band, standard bearers and 36 dancers with bundled yew branches. An unparalleled experience!