Whilst Shrove Tuesday is now becoming better known as pancake day in the UK it assumes the moniker of Mardis Gras (Fat Tuesday) in France, Carnevale in Italy, Karnevale in northern and central Germany, Fastnacht in Switzerland, and Fasching in Southern German and Austrian regions. Having said that, there are exceptions to the terminology and the dates with so many regions having their own peculiarities. Essentially though this week is carnival week in the Alps and it spells party time.

Carnival week is a time of huge celebrations, fancy dress, fireworks, parades, and parties. The festival can be traced back to pagan times to celebrate the start of spring and the ending of the long winter. It was then hijacked by the Christian religion to mark the beginning of lent whereby foods and wines were consumed prior to a 40-day period of religious abstinence and this became an excuse for revelry and indulgence. The term Carnival is attributed to the Latin “carne vale” meaning “goodbye to meat”.

 So Fasching week 2022 generally takes place from Saturday 26th February 2022 until Saturday 05th March 2022 – this is a busy week and accommodation prices will rise because of this, it will be noticeably busier on the slopes too. However, some resorts will start celebrations and events the week before and end on the Thursday of the main week, therefore straddling two weeks of the ski season. Carnival week is full of atmosphere and fun with a great buzz in all resorts but especially the Austrian resorts that are known for their partying. Ski resorts such as Ischgl (the Ibiza of the Alps), St Anton and Saalbach all rock throughout Fasching week. It’s certainly worth the experience at least once, especially if you enjoy the apres-ski part of a ski holiday.

Carnival week in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, Austria.

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