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The Allgäu Festival “Viehscheid”
The “Viehscheid” - A Happy Home Coming. Every year, in the middle of September, Oberstaufen celebrates a very special traditional festival. The descent of the cattle from their mountain pastures at the end of the grazing season, where they are then returned to their owners. It is an event cherished by both humans and animals.
The Alpine Farmsteads Shape The Landscape And Produce The Aromatic Mountain Cheese
The young cattle and dairy cows have been grazing amongst the lush alpine fields for around 100 days. In Allgäu they use the word 'Alp' instead of 'Alm' for the high altitude lodgings of the herdsman and their cattle. The healthy meadows are responsible for giving the milk and cheese its unique taste. Pasture farming has a long tradition in Oberstaufen and has formed the countryside for over centuries. There are over 160 inter-related functioning alpine homesteads in this area, which makes it the largest of its kind within the Bavarian Alps.
Adorned With Flowers, Is A Sign Of A Good Mountain Summer
Every year the herdsmen return the cattle to their farmers, before the snow arrives. The “Viehscheid” is a major festival, found in most villages across the region. In the early morning, farmers with their families and friends, holidaymakers and visitors stand waiting for the arrival of the cattle. Before anyone can see them, they can be heard; the cow bells make an impressive sound as the cattle are led down the mountains. Eventually the cows, goats, horses and pigs arrive in the valley. Everyone is looking out for the leading cow from each herd. She is decorated with an ornate head-dress made out of local flowers. This is a sign of a good mountain summer, without any incidents or injuries. At the meeting point, the 'Scheidplatz', the cattle are separated and are handed over by the proud herdsmen, to their appropriate owners and farmers.
When The Cattle Have Returned The Festival Begins
The best herdsman and milk cow are chosen and presented with the annual cow bell. The local brass band play for everyone in the large beer tent and the atmosphere is something you won't forget. Here locals and visitors mix and celebrate the happy home coming. The “Viehscheid” in Oberstaufen is usually during the middle of September and is well known throughout the region and has even been compared to the famous Munich Beer Festival. If you prefer a cosier atmosphere, then you can visit the “Viehscheid” in Thalkirchdorf, a village belonging to the district of Oberstaufen, which commences a week later.