… that´s the first question when it comes to the time of the year when Germans put on some really strange clothes. They drink – a lot, and dance to music they would never openly admit they have ever heard of.
Specially the Rhineland is known for its crazy and wild traditions around this 5th season. In most areas it is called Fasching – here they call it Karneval.
It officially starts at 11.11 am on the 11/11 – so today. But it gets really excessive from a day in February called Weiberfastnacht. It is the Thursday before Ash Wednesday and this week is filled with parties and parades. Weiberfastnacht means the carnival for women (Weiber). The ladies go out and dance, drink, and make new friends. The theme of the day is: Everything can – nothing has to. Don’t get the wrong impression of women from the Rhineland now. They just like to celebrate. Everything else is just serendipity.
By the way men are of course also welcome to join the parties on the Weiberfastnacht. You would just not initially go out with your male friends or partner.
You have the chance to meet princes, cowboys, hula girls, pirates, hippies, and animals of all kinds on Cologne´s, Mainz´s or other streets in the Rhineland. The whole area is in an exceptional state. Not only are the bars filled and you hear special Karneval music everywhere, but you also have the opportunity to join one of the countless carnival events. Big arenas are filled with thousands of dressed up people. Comedians and carnival bands ensure that the evening is a real success.
The following weekend is packed with street parades in all cities and villages. Everybody joins – it is just not an option to stay at home. Everybody admires the great dance and music performances and the decorated tractors and cars. Every parade has its own carnival prince and princess.
All kids are looking forward to it. It is very exciting. The participants of the parades throw candy to the kids and it is a lot of fun. All candy that is thrown is called Kamelle – no matter if it is sweets, gummi bears or full bars of chocolate.
After the parade the party continues in all bars, in private houses and on the street. The music played is quite simple … I mean – after drinking and partying for one week difficult lyrics are just not possible anymore.
On Ash Wednesday the whole fun is over and the fasting period until Easter starts.
Here is a short video to give you a little taste:
You think this is weird? I am fully with you. This is, why this article was written by my friend Christine. Many years back she moved from Bavaria to Bonn – which is in the Rhine area. I am not sure, if this was due to her love for their excessive carnival traditions or if maybe her job played a role. She has a natural talent for this event. I think she must have lived there in a former life. No clue where she gets the ideas for her costumes every year from.
I – on the contrary – have a “Faschingssperre“. I simply don´t get the whole thing. So I would have been the wrong one to tell you about it.
Fancy joining the party next year? I am sure I can organise some further tips for you from THE pro in case you plan a trip.
Do you celebrate carnival in your culture? How do you spend those crazy days?