March 3, 2011

Karneval! Karneval!

In 2006, I was lucky enough to visit New Orleans for the start of the new year but, unfortunately, I missed Mardi Gras by about a month and a half. It would have been really cool to have been in New Orleans for its famous, crazy holiday but someday, I hope to get a second chance at that. But for now I’m happy to be able to enjoy the equivalent here in Munich.

Carnival season is upon us. Or Karneval, as it is called in most parts of Germany. It’s also referred to as Fasching. It’s a Roman Catholic and Christian Orthodox celebration that officially begins on November 11th on the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour. But, for the most part, things stay pretty quiet until February or March. The end of Karneval falls at midnight on Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday), just before Ash Wednesday. So, the week leading up to that is when the festivities really get going and people all over Germany (it’s the most enthusiastic Karneval location in Europe!) start dressing up and causing trouble. It is, after all, described as a time to “break the rules.” Officially, it’s just a way to have a massive celebration before the fasting of Lent.

I snagged this off of the Interwebs:

In Germany, particularly in the Rhineland area, the tradition can be traced to medieval times where many countries existed under harsh rules. Kings, princes and even smaller potentates maintained their own courts. In doing so, they flaunted before each other their own pomp and splendor at the expense of their population.

During karneval time, the common people took a chance at 'living it up" and "talking back to their rulers". They would make a mock government of eleven people, as well as other officials. A price and princess were selected to rule the country during the Fasching season. Political authorities, high placed persons and sovereigns were the target of ridicule, and featured in humorous and satirical speeches. To avoid persecution and punishment, these antics were played out from behind masks and costumes. Parades, dancing in the streets, masquerade balls and comical skits filled the days and nights.

karneval1Cologne, Germany has one of the most popular Karneval celebrations. I’d really hoped to visit Cologne for the weekend of Karneval but I mixed up my vacation weekends and so my friend Fionnuala and I are traveling the weekend after Karneval. Oops.

But here in Munich – the festivies carry on! Less crowds, more friends, and blessed familiarity should we get drunk and need to find our way home. Donuts are the official food of Karnevale/Fasching or krapfen auf Deutsch!


Munich’s Carnival Timeline

Thursday, March 3rd: Women’s Carnival Day
In Cologne, it’s the date of the opening parade at 11:11 am and women, even in Munich, have the benefit of kissing whomever they like after cutting off his tie. ONLY, his tie. ;)

Friday-Sunday, March 4th-6th: Faschings Weekend
Parties all throughout Germany in celebration of Fasching. Here in Munich it is no exception! We will be out in fun and silly costumes! Pictures will be taken, don’t worry.

Monday, March 7th: Rose Monday
This is the day of the official Fasching’s parade – marching bands, dancers, and floats and people dressed in all kinds of costumes flock through the city. In Cologne there is a massive parade. In Munich, a parade marches through Viktualienmarkt.

Tuesday, March 8th: Fasching / Shrove Tuesday
Costume balls! Or just general costumed merry-making all over Germany!

Wednesday, March 9th: Ash Wednesday
A quiet day to take a break and Lent begins.


McGriddle Pants said...

How exciting! I bet it'll be even better than in New Orleans!!

TexaGermaNadian said...

Great post! I am just now seeing this. Our Rosenmotag here was insane! (And honestly I had thought I was following you for some time now, looks like I wasn't. Sorry! I am on board now)
Hope you had a good one!

mrdave160 said...

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Joseph Marie said...

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