Hooray for the city, freedom and life! Every last Wednesday before the Bavarian summer holidays, the traditional Children’s Festival is celebrated throughout the city – for centuries it has been of great importance for young and old alike. In 2024, the Children’s Festival will be held on Wednesday 24 July.
Firmly rooted tradition
For one day, the city is in the mood for celebration. At six in the morning at the crack of dawn, the firecrackers mark the start of the festivities – festively dressed children from all parts of the city then stream across the pier onto the island. First a church service is held first and then the little ones march – accompanied by drummers and minstrels – to the Old Town Hall. Wreaths of flowers, flags and traditional costumes: The Bismarckplatz square then offers a cheerful, colourful scene.
Introduced by a fanfare, the song “Lindau hoch” sounds out of hundreds of throats – a real goose bump moment. Afterwards, the Lord Mayor gives a speech about love of the homeland and traditional values and children from annually changing schools recite a poem of thanks. After the ceremony, the little ones receive their “Butschelle” – a sweet sultana pastry only available on this day – as well as vouchers for the rides at various spots across the town.
The afternoon of the children’s festival is spent in the respective districts, where the support associations offer traditional children’s games such as “Würschtleschnappen” or “Garnwickeln” and carousels and marquees invite young and old to celebrate.
History of the Children's festival
The roots of the children’s festival go back to the middle of the 17th century: the town’s legal adviser, Dr. Valentin Heider, who was also chairman of the church and school council, arranged for the festive arrangement of school sermons in the magistrate’s office around 1655. These sermons were primarily addressed to the parents of school children and were intended to convey the meaning and necessity of the school system and attendance. They also called for a decent way of life and respect for teachers.
The children’s festival also celebrates the freedom of the town, which was besieged by the Swedes during the Thirty Years’ War. Dr. Valentin Heider represented Lindau and several other cities at the peace negotiations of Münster and Osnabrück – it is thanks to his diplomatic skills that Lindau regained its old rights as a Free Imperial City.
In 1662 the typical elements of the Lindau Children’s Festival were laid down – and these are still strictly adhered to today:
- 06:00 am wake-up call by the children’s festival drummer, youth band and firecrackers
- 08:00 am festive service for the school children
- 09:00 am parade with floral decorations and flags through the island
- 09:30 ceremony at the Old Town Hall
In 2024, the Children’s Festival will be held on Wednesday 24 July.