Gruesome charm

They were brutally prosecuted by the church, and stylized as figures in fairytales - witches. At Fasnacht in Imst it’s completely different. The witches are an independent group of protagonists, whose performance is characterized by piercing shrieks, hideous looks and threatening brandishing of brooms. They wear simple dresses with aprons and blonde wigs with two long pigtails. Their brooms are raised above their heads and their skirts are swinging rhythmically when they dance. Their wooden masks consisting of two parts, a nose with eyes and an ugly chin covered with warts and bristles, allow them to produce their infernal howls. When their dance is over and all witches have been heard, their Führungstroika (leading troika) is satisfied.

Three generations of witches

First and foremost the Hexemuatter (mother of witches) wearing Wiflig (traditional skirt), Fatzelkappe (characteristic cap) and a one piece mask. The supervision of the witches is so exhausting that her tongue hangs out of her mouth. The Hexevåter (father of witches), is dressed up as an Altfrank, he is the keeper of the book in which all the witches are listed. Then there is also Hexe-Nahle, the weary grandmother, who accompanies the group of witches with quite some effort, walking with a stick. She keeps her knitting things in a bag, and deals out snuff and sweets among the spectators. Hideous but harmless – thus are the Imst Fasnacht witches.

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