Donnerstag, 23. Februar 2006

Lesson 1 in German culture: Fasching

Also called Karneval or Fastnacht or a couple of other locally specific names.

What you could compare it to: Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, or Venice, Italy, or Mardi Gras in New Orleans, USA.

What it is: an old tradition, but for me a crazy time (between today and next Tuesday, but some parties and balls take place earlier) where people put on costumes and party, i.e. drink as much as they can and dance to the stupidest songs you can imagine. (As you can probably tell, I’m a Faschingsmuffel, i.e. I don’t like Fasching.) Next Wednesday is Aschermittwoch (Ash Wednesday) and the beginning of lent, so the craziness will be over. Today is actually Weiberfasching (also called Fettdonnerstag or unsinniger Donnerstag) where women are allowed to cut off men’s ties.

There are also big Umzüge (parades) in cities like Köln (Cologne) or Düsseldorf. And big Prunksitzungen (sessions or galas) where different acts perform, mostly dance groups à la the dancers in Moulin Rouge and comedians who make fun of politicians or comment on current topics in a humorous way, sometimes in rhymes. Some of the parades and galas are broadcast live on TV.

For more info, see Wikipedia's English entry for Carnival

2 Kommentare:

  1. Sonja, thanks for this! The only thing I really know about German culture is Oktoberfest, and that I avoid. (Kitchener Ontario was once called "New Berlin", and it's only an hour's drive away).

    I like the idea of cutting off a man's tie. Now, if only I could find a celebration where we cut the rest of a man's clothes off... :)

  2. This sounds like a lot of fun I don't think we have this kind of thing in England


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