a bit of real German culture for you!
Compiled by Johnny Glover
the time of Lent, Germany (as well as other Germanic and RC cultures) have been
been celebrating Fasching with meetings, parties, carnival street
and parades all with lot of noise, masks, fancy dress, fool’s
unfortunately often with excess alcohol. Some people even come to work
dressed up in costumes!
is an ancient tradition that has been passed on through generations and
connected with the celebrations that happen all over the world in
Roman Catholic areas. Whether it be “Mardis Gras”
in S. America or “Fasnet” in
Basel/Switzerland or the mask balls in Venice. It really has to do with
celebrations before the fasting season of Lent during which life calms
again to a minimum.
all starts on the 11th day of the 11th
at 11:11 of each year. This exact place in time marks the beginning
“festive” or 5th season,
which the local Fasching-Vereine (Fasching
Committees and Societies) all over Germany have
been waiting for in order to start
organizing their celebrations
and hold loads of club meetings called
“Prunksitzungen” (really local gatherings with
piles of very jovial
entertainment: band music, cabaret, singing, dancing, comical speeches
of the preparations culminate into a hive of activity in February and
ending in the processions on the Sunday, (Rose)Monday and Shrove
largest of which and best visited being in Cologne and Mainz (on
Munich (on Sunday) close behind.
Thursday before is called the Weiberfastnacht (wimmin’s day),
where women can
rule the day and are even allowed to cut the ties of any men
them as souvenirs. A rather strange thing to do!
of this being in preparation for the time of Lent where Ash Wednesday
end of it all and Germany reverts back to “business as
usual”. Ash Wednesday
has actually become a very political day with all the major political
having annual general meetings.
a great deal of “modern” people flee these so
called “crazy” days and use it as
an excuse for taking short holidays. The ski slopes of the Alps tend to
overcrowded during this time with the first queues of the year on the
ski lifts as
well as on the roads.
(The battle cry of the season!)