Burschenschaft: 1) Association of unmarried young men in rural areas; subject to strict rules; responsible for the maintenance of local customs such as Maskentreiben; also called "Bursch", "Zechen", "Irten", "Ruden" and "Passen"; while largely secularized and modified by modern developments in society, even today a large number of sports clubs, denominational and political youth organizations in rural areas take the form of a Burschenschaft. 2) Student organization, fraternity; Burschenschaften bear traditional heraldic colours, most of them engage in combat (duelling fraternities) and many hold nationalist and right wing views; originally founded in Jena in 1814; in Austria established under Metternich; repeatedly forbidden by the police; officially permitted since 1859; (oldest Burschenschaft: Olympia Wien 1859); in 1994 Austria counted approximately 30 Burschenschaften, some of which are partly associated with the umbrella organization Deutsche Burschenschaft (abbr. DB).
Literature#W. Galler, Die B. des oestlichen und mittleren Weinviertels, doctoral thesis, Vienna 1971; R. Wolfram, B.-Brauchtum, in: Oesterr.
Volkskundeatlas, 3rd instalment, 1968.