The traditional Zussl Race in Prato allo Stelvio
is meant to chase away the winter and cold and to awaken the spring by making noise and having a loud charivari concert. This ancient carnival tradition of noise in Prato allo Stelvio takes place every year on Shrove Thursday, and is still handed down and performed with passion until today.
The Zussl are dressed in white from head to toe and adorned with coloured ribbons and paper pulp flowers. Tied around their waists, they wear large noisy bells, which often weigh over 20 kilos. The Zussl are accompanied by the Six White Horses – young men disguised as white horses which drag an old plough behind them.
The parade is moved along by the Carter, who skilfully snaps his long whip (Goaßl) in the air, producing loud cracks that are audible throughout the mountains. The Carter is followed by the Sower, who instead of grain throws sawdust into the crowd, and the parade continues on with the procession of Peasants before concluding with an appearance by the Merry Couple, clad in rags.