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When Hof is already upside down on Mondays: The 592nd “Schlappentag” on May 27, 2024

Students who have not been in the city for very long will probably be rubbing their eyes in amazement on May 27: On a Monday of all days, the city of Hof turns upside down and celebrates its annual “national holiday”. The “Schlappentag ” is not only the most typical of all regional festivals and almost six centuries old, but has also been an intangible Bavarian cultural heritage for several years. In addition to a colorful parade of craftsmen, the program also includes a guided tour of the Hussites and an open “Schlappenschießen” shooting competition for citizens.

The Hofer Schlappentag is one of the oldest craftsmen’s and marksmen’s festivals in Germany; Image: Stadt Hof;

On the Monday after Trinitatis – one week after Whitsun – the town on the Saale celebrates in style. The Schlappentag dates back to a Hussite raid in 1430, as a result of which the citizens and craftsmen of Hof were obliged by their sovereign, the Margrave of Brandenburg, to take part in regular shooting practice. From 1432, which is also the year the shooting guild was founded, these took place, with many choosing the last possible date, i.e. the Monday after Trinity. These annual shooting exercises had a very functional character. This also explains the name of the day, as people went to the shooting range in “slippers”. These were by no means today’s slippers, but durable wooden shoes that were worn for work in the Middle Ages.

The monument to craftsmen and marksmen at the entrance to the square at the shooting house; image: Stadt Hof;

A 5.50-metre monument to marksmen at the entrance to the festival grounds is a reminder of this tradition and shows the metamorphosis from craftsman to marksman. Thus, the Schlappentag is also a festival of craftsmen, as the founded marksmen’s guild was mostly recruited from craftsmen who also had to take part in regular shooting exercises and competitions.

“Citizens’ slipper shooting” for everyone

The traditional “Schlappenschießen” shooting competition on Sunday morning, to which around 100 dignitaries from the trades, marksmen, politics and business are personally invited, takes up the tradition of the old shooting exercises. The prize for the new “Schlappenkönig” or “Schlappenkönigin” is a one-year exemption from city parking fees instead of the previous tax exemption. The only thing that counts is who gets the best shot.

On the afternoon of May 26 (Sunday) 2024, citizens – and of course students – can also try their shooting luck: That’s when the Hof Sports Shooting Association (HSSV) will be hosting the so-called “Citizens’ Shoot” at the shooting house (address: Schießgraben 1, Hof) from 2 pm to 5.30 pm. Shooting is done with an air rifle from 10 meters. There are cash and drink prizes to be won. The best shot will be judged to be the “Citizen Shooting King 2024”.

Reception in front of the town hall

On Monday, 27 May 2024, the actual Hofer Schlappentag begins very early for some: from 5.30 a.m., selected dignitaries are roused from their beds by brass bands playing the tune “Herr Hauptmann, die Schützen haben kein Geld”. From 9 a.m. onwards, they meet in traditional costume in front of Hof Town Hall, where the new Schlappenkönig is proclaimed and delegations from other towns are welcomed. The parade then begins at 9:30 am from the town hall to the shooting house. In the festival tent, the people of Hof and their guests can also enjoy the famous Hofer Schlappenbier, which is brewed especially for the occasion and is a real strong beer, until 10 pm.

In staged scenes, the Hof tour guides and other amateur actors and actresses re-enact the Hussite raid of 1430; photo: Andreas Rau;

Hussite tour – a journey into the past

The Hussite tour has been a fixed part of the Hof Schlappentag program for years and traditionally takes place on the Sunday (26.6.24) before Schlappentag. Visitors can look forward to a varied journey through the past and various scenes that take them back into the history of Hofer Schlappentag. The two-hour guided tour is in German and starts at 2 pm at Hof’s St. Michael’s Church (Kirchplatz 4, Hof). Tickets are available for 5 euros directly from the guide.


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