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Karneval !!!

Dear blog readers!  

This next week is an eventful week in Germany !! The Carneval season has kicked in high gear all over Germany with its parades, masquerades, foolish behaviors and colorful festivities.

Carneval, or Karneval as it’s spelled in German, officially starts on November 11 at 11:11 am when Karneval Comittees start organizing the activities for the “Fifth Season.”  The date and time for the start of Karneval has long-standing historic significance in that the number “11” is one number more than the 10 Commandments and one number less than the 12 Diciples of Christ. During the Middle Ages the number eleven was considered the number of Fools.

Would it be of surprise to us that one of our own was born on such date? Nico Greipel, the youngest, was actually born on that date.

But while Karneval officially starts in November no one really notices any activity until the last Thursday before Lent (which was yesterday, Feb. 11).

The first sign of foolishness appears that Thursday, also called “Weiberfastnacht”, or Fat Thursday .  That day is rather hard to explain, all I remember was when we were young girls we’d cut off pieces of boys’ shoe laces and often try to snip off some piece of our teacher’s ties (that never worked, but I recall getting a teacher’s shoe lace once).

If you want to get an idea of Fat Thursday activities, watch this video here.

The next big day is Rosen Montag, which is a day of parades, TV Shows, heavy drinking (surprise here) and more wacky costumes.  Generally, the televised parades feature large, colorful floats that poke fun at politicians.  The candy that gets thrown from these floats is called “Kamelle” and people often try to use the inside of umbrellas to catch them.

Schools are closed on that Monday. The cities with the most activity and biggest parades have traditionally been Mainz (which is Louisville’s sister city), and the Cologne area, which includes city of Düsseldorf.

The carneval greeting in Mainz is Helau and in Cologne is Alaaf.

But it is all over on Ash Wednesday with the start of Lent.

Until then HELAUUUUU, and ALAAAAAF!!

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February 12, 2010 - Posted by | German, History | , , , , , , , ,

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