Traditional masked ball in Prad
The traditional masked ball in Prad am Stilfserjoch, is an archaic Carnival tradition, whose origin and significance are uncertain. A theory implies that it had originally been a type of wedding procession, whereas others believe that it had been and ancient dance of death.
The group consists of a “Bajaz” and of eight couples; the female figures are represented by men too. The masked dancers are accompanied by musicians and partially by “Schuhplattler” dancers too. The dancers go from inn to inn on Carnival Sunday, Monday and Mardi Gras, dancing according to fixed rituals and making jokes.
Each masked dance is inaugurated by the “Bajaz” wearing a pointed hat with coloured ribbons and flowers. The couples enter the inn in a particular order dancing to one traditional melody each. The couples are: “Bride & groom”, “Farmer and his wife”, Steirer and Steirerin”, “Tuxner and Tuxnerin”, “Zillertaler and Zillertalerin”, “Mohr and Mohrin”, “Gypsy and his wife” as well as “Zoch and Pfott”.
The latter are clothed in rags and symbolize fertility. After the dance, the “Zoch” runs to all women in the audience and tries to kiss them, whereas the “Pfott” tries to conquer all men.
The “farmer” traditionally collects voluntary donations, and the “farmer’s wife” orders the drinks for the masked dancers in the meantime. The “gipsy” and “his wife” meanwhile take the drinks and cigarettes from the guess and the hosts.
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