SERVICE HOTLINE+49 211 17 202-867Monday to Friday
09:00-17:00
Deutsch
English
Français
Nederlands
You are here: Events / Our Top Events / Biggest fun fair on the Rhine / History
Weather
Thu
10°C
18.01.18 shower
Fri
6°C
19.01.18 shower
Sat
5°C
20.01.18 shower
Sun
5°C
21.01.18 shower
Social Networks

History

Origin of the fun fair

Who's not familiar with it, the "Kirmes" (fun fair) or "Kirmesgeld" (fun fair money)? Having fun at the fair with rides and opportunities to eat and drink?
But what's the origin of the German term for fun fair ("Kirmes")?
The word "Kirmes" originates from the Middle High German "Kirmesse", which was derived from "Kirchmesse" ("Church Mass"). The "Kirmesse" was the term used for the mass said to consecrate a church, with this event being celebrated annually in conjunction with a secular event, i.e. the fair.

In Düsseldorf, the fun fair is celebrated to commemorate the day of Saint Apollinaris (23 July). He was a disciple of Saint Peter and was appointed the first Bishop of Ravenna in around 200 AD. In around 1300 AD, Düsseldorf acquired several relics of this martyr who was then declared the patron saint of the city. The people of Düsseldorf subsequently built a beautiful shrine in his honour, which to this day is housed in the church of St. Lambertus in the Old Town.

How is the "Schützenkönig" – the "King of Marksmen" – selected?

Each year during the fair, members of the St. Sebastianus Schützenverein 1316 e.V. (Marksmen Association) shoot at a dummy bird that has been raised on a target. The marksman who shoots the bird down is awarded the title of "Schützenkönig".

Young marksmen from the age of 14 to 23 compete for the title of Jungschützenkönig (Young King of Marksmen). Members from six to 14 years of age, the so-called "Pages", may become Pagenkönig (King of Pages) for a year.  After the shooting contest, the newly selected kings are formally crowned at the coronation ball. These days, the King of Marksmen is no longer relieved of his tax burdens for his marksmanship. This was one privilege among many others, e.g. the right to marry, afforded to the winner of the competition. Today, only the title remains.