Charming masquerade parades deriving from ancient cults like that of fertility: this is the Carnival of Prato dello Stelvio, that for centuries has been celebrating a tradition dating back to the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Zussl Race, taking place on February 16th 2023.
Carnival in Prato dello Stelvio is an important social event and an historical reenactment to which only men are allowed to take part. It always takes place on Fat Thursday. The Zussl are ancient characters wearing a white costume adorned with colorful paper mache ribbons and flowers and many bells that can reach a weight of 20 kg!
The parade is usually composed of 6 men symbolizing cart horses drawing an old plow urged on by the whips of the carters, followed by a man shedding sawdust among the crowd. The parade ends with a group composed by male and female peasants and servants, and by the characteristic couple "Zoch and Pfott" carrying with them the ancient tools used for farming.
A second parade is opened by the Triebschellträger, the character with the biggest bell, followed by the Zussl, whose bells chase the winter away and favor wheat growing.