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Mad times in Erding

Colourful carnival revelry in the region

In our tourist region carnival starts shortly after the start of the New Year and finishes, of course, on Shrove Tuesday, right after the last dancers have been sent home. The highlights of our ‘mad times’ are the Nonsensical Thursday or Holy Thursday, also notoriously known as Women’s Carnival Day, and of course Shrove Tuesday. What is so great about our carnival traditions? Well, the fact that the traditional carnival jam doughnuts get ever more colourful, that carnival in Dorfen is celebrated differently from the Erding carnival and that big and small revellers get their money’s worth everywhere in our region.

Find out for yourself! Here you can find all the most important carnival customs and dates at a glance:

Meeting of the Maschkera (the masked ones) in Dorfen

The Dorfen carnival is heralded in by the over a hundred years’ old traditional meeting of the Maschkera (the masked ones) in the Jakobmayer hall and which takes place on the first weekend of the New Year. It starts off with the inauguration of the ‘Royal couple’ who were proclaimed on 11th November of the year before.

Date: first weekend in the New Year
Admittance: 19 h
Start: 20 h

Hemadlenzen (Long-shirt Larries: Hemad = shirt, Lenz = from St Laurentius) in Dorfen


Keeping to the old conventions the tropp of Hemadlenzen forms a procession in Erdinger Street at 10.00. Lead by the town band this then moves via Johannisplatz (Johannes Square) and Church Square to the Lower Market Square. According to tradition the ʻRoyal couple’ wait in the old living quarters of the tower of the Lower Gate. From there they climb down a ladder and head the procession which then continues towards the Town Hall Square.
Here the Hemadlenzen occupy the town hall and force the mayor to also climb down a ladder from the first floor. Along Haager Street, Terofal Street and Bahnweg (way to the station) and back again to the old centre of the town. From Brandstattgasse via Lower Market Square it finally ends up at Maria Square where, as the highlight of the procession, the Hemadlenz rag doll is hung from a gallows and set alight whilst all the Long-shirt Larries roar and rejoice.

After having symbolically driven winter out the procession comes officially to a close. However many Larries continue to party till well into the evening.

Date: Nonsensical Thursday
Time: as from 10 h
Location: Historical centre of Dorfen

Narrenschranne (Fools' Hall) in Erding

The whole town is out and about when the ‘Royal couple’ and their entourage from the Fools’ Hall appear on the Grain Market Square accompanied by their latest programme of music, ‘guards’ formation dance and sketches during which they take the mickey of local politics.

Date: Carnival Sunday (Sunday before the start of Lent)
Time: about 13 h
Location: Schrannenplatz (Grain Market Square) Erding

Moosgeistertreiben ErdingMoosgeistertreiben (Driving out of the moor spirits) in Erding

You need to watch out because this is the day the moor spirits are abroad making trouble. With the departure of these frightening creatures from the town back to the Erdinger Moos (moos = moor) the carnival in Erding finishes up with final parties in the many pubs in the centre of town.

Date: Shrove Tuesday
Time: about 13 Uhr
Location: centre of Erding

Carnival activities in Dorfen

Performances by the Garden (young women dressed in Guard costumes doing can-can like formation dances) in a variety of the Dorfen shops and afternoon carnival activities on the Lower Market Square followed by the final party in Jakobmayer.

Date: Shrove Tuesday
Time: about 11 h
Location: historical centre of the town of Dorfen
Final party (Kehraus) as from 14 h in the Jakobmayer hall

You can find all the dates and times of the carnival events and balls in our online Calender of Events.