Munich in English - selected by independent Locals for Cosmopolitans, Newcomers and Residents - since 1989


January 6–February 21:
Every seven years Munich revives a 16th-century folk dance!

Schaefflertanz 1 276x

The year of 1517 marked a dark period in Munich's city history. For the third time within a few years, a highly contagious plague dramatically decimated the city's population. All of the remaining residents, who  did not get infected, anxiously stayed at home. City life was dead and doctors even feared that other diseases would spread throughout the homes of survivors, if people did not start to catch some fresh air again. In order to get residents out of their homes, a citizen of the Schäffler (cooper) guild had the idea to dance through the streets. Many other members of the guild joined the plan and thus the so-called Schäfflertanz (coopers' dance) was created. The choreography follows a fixed set of marching elements and dance steps, all of which are performed while dancers hold an arc-shaped garland. Dancers are also required to wear the traditional coopers' attire. 

Selected Schäfflertanz performances in 2012:

January 6, 2 pm
January 7, 21, 28 & February 11, noon
February 12, 3:30 pm

January 24, 5 pm

February 21, noon

Performances may also take place at a Munich street near you! For a detailed schedule, go to

As to why this particular Munich tradition is only performed every seven years, one can only speculate. The Schäffler figures incorporated in the carillon of the New City Hall on Marienplatz are, however, proof of the fact that this tradition is deeply rooted in the city's history.

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