The origins of the Sélestat carnival

Carnaval des Machores Saturday February 17th and Sunday February 18th... a bit of history

The story goes back to the Middle Ages, when a young butcher's apprentice saved the town from an enemy attack by ringing the church bells to sound the alarm.
From then on, in gratitude, the butchers gave their apprentices the afternoon of Mardi Gras so that they could raise a little money and celebrate. To mark the occasion, they rang the bells in St-Georges church, and did so every year until the 1960s. Carnival was also celebrated by the population, including the notables, and has been since time immemorial, as evidenced by the carnival poster from 1870!

Sélestat is a festive town and its main festivals are linked to the Sélestadian guilds.


So who are these Machores and where does the name come from?

Disguised as girls in white plastic boots, tights and colourful jackets, they usually lead the procession.
Machores" is actually the Alsatian nickname given to the butcher's foreman by the apprentices. So it has nothing to do with Macho or Majorette!

The carnival association Les Machores was founded in 1970 and gave its name to the festivities (Carnaval des Machores) when it took over the reins of the Sélestat Carnival in the 1980s.
This band of merrymakers even performs across borders, taking part in several carnivals in Germany in particular.



What's the unmissable symbol of carnival festivities in Sélestat?

The Narreklepfer, literally "stick of fools"! It's a sausage created by the Sélestat and surrounding area butchers' guild in 1975. It looks like a knack but is almost 2x its size in length.
This unique sausage attracts gourmets to the town's butchers every year.
You can also buy them at the Tuesday morning and Saturday morning markets from the Machores during the Carnival period.



Carnival essentials?

You've got free rein, but don't be afraid to get creative!
A hat is a classic but always effective and almost endless. The cowboy hat, the bowler hat, the Borsalino hat, the tricorne hat, the stork hat.......
A little make-up!
Warm shoes and clothes, even if the atmosphere soon warms up to the sound of Guggenmusik. You won't be able to resist this music! Brass and percussion set the tone.


 Selestat Carnival Saturday February 17th (night cavalcade) and Sunday February 18th !





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