But no one’s washed out on Schlappentag in Hof; at the latest, when the first keg is being tapped, everyone is wide awake. This Hofer regional holiday originated from a shameful defeat by the Hussites when the Hussites attacked the town in 1430 and came across almost no resistance. The infuriated margrave obliged every male citizen to join the military service and, more importantly, to do regular firing practices, as a consequence.
The original with almost 600 years of history
Germany’s oldest beer and shooting festival invites its visitors to town every first Monday after Whitsun (in the church calendar: Monday after Trinity Sunday).
The unpopular firing practice had to be completed by Trinity, the first Sunday after Whitsun, therefore a downright pilgrimage started toward the shooting house on the last possible day. The riflemen weren’t the least bit excited about this, that’s why they came there wearing work clothes and slippers, the ‘Schlappen’. Soon this day was called ‘Schlappentag’. But: the Schützengilde (rifle club) got the permission to brew a strong beer especially for this day – the Schlappenbier. It wasn’t passed down if the drink improved the riflemen’s accuracy but it sure made the firing practice more attractive to all participants.
Today, the Hofer Schlappentag begins with a parade of the trade guilds and riflemen and heads towards town hall. If you’re lucky, you can detect one or two persons wearing slippers among all the festively spiffed up. In front of the town hall, the Schlappenkönig (winner) is being announced; he nowadays is determined onSunday before the Schlappentag. A long time ago, the best riflemen was the lucky winner of a tax exemption given to him by an alderman, today it’s at least the right to park for free in the town center for a year.
The Schlappentag moves on to the more informal part after the parade and ends when the beer, which is brewed especially for this day, is gone.
The Hofer traditional beer is a rarity and is brewed according to the traditional recipe even months before the Schlappentag. Special malt and hops sorts and an extra long ripening and storage time make for the special flavor and the amber color of the beer. Despite its alcoholic strength of 6.5% it’s very nice to drink and has a strong character. For a strong beer it’s not too sweet, it’s spicy and full-bodied and has a smooth-bitter and hoppy character. Its color is dark like a Pils’ and just as clear. The fine carbonation fizzes and creates nice foam.
View from the city hall tower
The view from the city hall tower ist worth the climb of 152 steps. In 32 meters you have a magnificent view over the city.
The tower is open during the summer months. You get the key at the tourist information.
581. Hofer Schlappentag
582. Hofer Schlappentag
583. Hofer Schlappentag
584. Hofer Schlappentag
585. Hofer Schlappentag
586. Hofer Schlappentag
587. Hofer Schlappentag
588. Hofer Schlappentag
Die Hussiten kommen!
Immer am Sonntag vor dem Schlappentag laden die Hofer Stadtführer zu einer ganz besonderen Führung ein:
In historischen Kostümen schildern der rohe und aufschneiderische Hussit Herbert und die fromme Hofer Bürgerin Elisabeth wie sie den Überfall erlebt haben – jeder aus seiner Sicht.
Und ganz nebenbei erfährt man viel über die Geschichte der Hussiten und wie der Hofer Schlappentag entstanden ist.