Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage

The citizens’ sons’ parade to Lingen "The Kivelinge" from 1372

Every three years, Lingen hosts a historic market event and a big festival parade in honor of the citizens’ sons. Having its roots in the 14th century, the festival is prepared by hundreds of volunteers. This long-established tradition comprises dynamic and inclusive features. Anyone is welcome, regardless of social or migratory backgrounds. People with limited mobility are offered special services in order to be able to participate as well.

Facts & figures

Crucial date: every three years
Inscription: 2018
Domains: Social customs, rituals and festivals; performing arts; oral traditions and expressions
Where to find: Lingen


Monika Schwegmann

In 1372, according to a story told, attackers besieged the city of Lingen. Just when the grown-up men could no longer bear up against the invaders, the youngest and unmarried men in the city gathered and stepped in as a last resort. Not only did the citizen’s sons withstand the attacks, but they also put the attackers to flight. As a reward, the city council promised them a perpetual amount of beer for an annual memorial party. The citizens’ sons, however, from then on called themselves the "Kivelinge", which means "little fighters", and started celebrating a festival for all inhabitants of the city:  the citizens’ sons’ parade to Lingen "The Kivelinge" from 1372.

Today, the parade is celebrated every three years and the event has shaped identities within the entire city of Lingen and surrounding areas. The Kivelinge have committed themselves to the public spirit and are, therefore, of strong symbolic significance in the city of Lingen. The festivities kick off with the delivery of a gift to the citizenship, financed from the proceeds of the previous parade of the Kivelinge. This gesture indicates the charitable nature of the parade, whose festive events and proceeds are of benefit to the entire citizenry.

Many social and cultural initiatives in Lingen have emerged due to the Kivelinge and their community. Those initiatives stress the peculiarity of a tradition that requests a lot of inhabitants to volunteer their time. Throughout the year, hundreds of committed people prepare a festival anyone can participate in. Commercial showmen groups are not part of the event.

Centuries ago, the ancient tradition started to create a community that took up the cause of equality and peaceful coexistence. Therefore, the festival played a key role in overcoming tensions based on different denominations, social or migratory backgrounds


Wissen. Können. Weitergeben..
Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission, 2017

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