<p>In 2009, the <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/american-festivals/">American Festivals Project</a> visited Helvetia, <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/united-states/west-virginia-guide/">West Virginia</a>, to participate in Fasnacht, a pre-Lenten celebration that also marks the end of winter. Fasnacht—translated from the German as "fast night"—grew from the town's Swiss heritage. During festivities that begin at dark and continue until midnight, participants carry papier-mâché lanterns and dress in costumes to scare Old Man Winter, who hangs in effigy from the ceiling of the community hall.</p> <p>Read more about Fasnacht on the <a href="http://americanfestivalsproject.net">American Festivals Project blog</a>.</p>

Old Man Winter

In 2009, the American Festivals Project visited Helvetia, West Virginia, to participate in Fasnacht, a pre-Lenten celebration that also marks the end of winter. Fasnacht—translated from the German as "fast night"—grew from the town's Swiss heritage. During festivities that begin at dark and continue until midnight, participants carry papier-mâché lanterns and dress in costumes to scare Old Man Winter, who hangs in effigy from the ceiling of the community hall.

Read more about Fasnacht on the American Festivals Project blog.

Photograph by Andrew Owen, American Festivals Project

Fasnacht

See photos of the Fasnacht festival in Helvetia, West Virginia, in this American Festivals Project travel photo gallery from National Geographic.

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