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Folklore studies formerly, and wrongly, related Fastnacht to the verb faseln (“to flourish”, “to multiply”) and posited origins in pagan fertility cults (but cf. [10]). MHG vastnaht (also vasnaht), however, meant the “Eve of Lent”, so that the vasnacht spil (‘Fastnacht play’; term first attested in the 15th century) was part of the culture of carnival. Associations with traditional plays of driving out winter and welcoming spring remain matters for speculation, but the origins of the secular plays in ecclesiastical contexts are reliably attested (Salbenkrämerspiele, “…

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Kugler, Hartmut, “Fastnachtsspiel”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 08 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_019153>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180126

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