New Year’s celebrations are just over and already Karneval costumes are out in the shops and Karneval stories adorning the newspapers. Karneval or “Fasching” will begin to permeate your life in Germany in the coming weeks, and chances are you will either love it or loathe it. I would be interested to hear from you on this topic! Cologne, Düsseldorf, Münster, Aachen and Mainz are big on Karneval but there will likely be something going on everywhere. It officially gets underway 40 days before Easter, the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, which is February 7 this year.
Right now is the time when you A) search for the perfect Karneval costume (at your nearest Karneval shop, department store, grocery store, home improvement store, or online), (B) make plans for which Karneval parties or sessions you plan to attend or host (C)figure out where you will flee during Karneval, (D) figure out how you will barricade yourself in your house and avoid contact with men wearing tights, cashiers wearing red braids and clowns with bottles of brew in the streets.
I have heard that Karneval is celebrating the end of winter, a frenzy of action and excitement before solemn Lenten season. I see it as a firmly embedded German tradition and a big excuse to party. This is the land of Oktoberfest after all. I have personally not heard of another country where people take off a week of work just to party. And it’s socially acceptable! But it’s not just about big people parties, there is also family fun. Kids like to dress up and go to the parades, collecting candy which is thrown at them. But you never know. One year I caught a roll of toiletpaper (unused). Anything goes. Bring a big bag.
Already I have started to hear all those Karneval songs played at the department stores. And the scary thing is – I know some of them by now. My favorite is about a caravan moving on because a Sultan is thirsty. It could be that that’s where it ends for me. Don’t know yet which category I will fall in this year.