Fritschibrunnen & Kapellplatz
Fountain in Lucerne
in the Kapellplatz at the entrance to Lucerne’s old town stands the Fritschi fountain with its magnificent column. The fountain features a bannerman atop a pillar adorned with multiple carnival masks, among them those of Fritschi and his spouse. Water pours into the fountain’s base from four jester masks. Designed by the architect August von Rhyn, the fountain was unveiled on October 14, 1918.
The Fritschi fountain holds significance in Lucerne’s annual carnival celebrations: festivities kick off here at 5 a.m. on Dirty Thursday, and during the carnival parade, the Fritschi wagon circles the fountain three times.
The roots of the Carnival Legend stretch back to the 15th century. Take a moment to observe the man wearing a red hat in the fountain. Known as Brother Fritschi, he is said to be buried beneath this very fountain. Although uncertainty shrouds the existence of Brother Fritschi’s grave within the medieval graveyard, historical records confirm that this burial ground was designated for unmarried women, farm laborers, parentless children, and strangers. Consequently, it might encompass a farmer from the mid-1400s.
According to the tale, this farmer was renowned for his joviality and generosity with drinks when he visited the town. Upon his passing, he bequeathed funds to a guild, instructing them to provide wine to the less fortunate during the Carnival. Even now, this wish is upheld by these guilds.
Tracing back to the 15th century, the Fritschi parade inaugurates the Carnival Season. A life-sized straw effigy of Fritschi is paraded through the city in the company of various guilds and clubs. The procession is led by drummers and pipers, trailed by soldiers donning substantial beards and armor. This parade commemorates both the onset of the Lenten Season and a historic military triumph.
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