On 25th January 1430 Hof, after hardly offering any resistance at all, was taken in storm by the Hussites and completely destroyed.
In desperation the townspeople turned to the Margrave of Brandenburg, who granted them a charter guaranteeing ten years’ exemption from taxes on condition that they armed themselves with handguns to be able to defend themselves against any more such attacks. This led to the founding of a shooting club in 1432, which mainly recruited its members among the local tradesmen. The municipal authorities required them to take part in regular target practice and shooting competitions.
In order not to be fined for not complying, many of these marksmen hurried on the morning of the last possible day for shooting (the first Monday after Trinity Sunday), still wearing their working clothes and their wooden clogs (“Schlappen”) to the clubhouse. There they were shown how to use a musket by a master marksman. Over the years, the number of marksmen wanting to get their shooting practice done on this Monday became so great that a long procession of marksmen in clogs paraded through Hof to the shooting range.
The shooting club was rewarded for its services to the ruling lords with privileges such as the right to brew beer. The successor of this company of marksmen, a club called Privilegierte Scheiben-Schützengesellschaft von 1432 Hof, has been responsible for organizing and conducting Hof’s “public holiday”, the “Schlappentag”, for well over 570 years.
After being woken up to music on the morning of “Schlappentag”, which is still the first Monday after Trinity Sunday, guildsmen, tradesmen and marksmen meet at the clubhouse at 8 a.m. to parade to the town hall. There they are received by the Mayor and the superintendent of the marksmen and, together with local politicians and other dignitaries, at 9.45 a.m. they then parade through Ludwigstraße, Altstadt, Friedrichstraße to Lessingstraße, where the actual celebrations begin. When the procession has reached the clubhouse a special beer brewed only for this occasion by Hof’s Zeltbräu brewery (“Schlappenbier”) is then served. With the official part over, the Schlappentag develops into a casual and friendly get-together with Schlappen-beer, barbecued sausages and music.