CONTRIBUTED BY MERIL CHICKINI
Note: We are bringing this article out of the archives in time for the Fasching season 2016. Although the season traditionally lasts from November until the day before Ash Wednesday (Shrove or Fat Tuesday), most events happen during the last few days of the season. In 2016 the height of the season will take place Sunday, February 7 – Tuesday, February 9.
As you probably already know, or have noticed, Germans like to celebrate and party! They have a long list of different fests to prove it and Fasching is part it. The pre-Lent festivities are celebrated in a carnival style in mostly the predominantly catholic regions of the German-speaking countries. The Rhineland has its Karneval, Austria, Bavaria and Berlin calls theirs Fasching, and the German Swiss celebrate Fastnacht. It reminds me of Mardi Gras in a way but not as big (well, not in the area we are in).
The carnival session begins each year on 11 November at 11:11 a.m. and finishes on Ash Wednesday with the main festivities happening around Rosenmontag (the Monday before Ash Wednesday). Although it starts in November it usually really kicks in January- February. Depending on the place, Fasching will also celebrate the dark winter times being over and being closer to sun and spring.
There will be parades and parties, masquerades and other festivities. Düsseldorf, Cologne and Mainz celebrate Fasching with big parades that are worth seeing and going to. Usually stores like Norma, Kaufland and Real will have masks and other things for the Fasching season.
Everybody in the parade will wear costumes, there will be music, singing, dancing and they will throw candy to the people on the side of the road. You might also get sprayed with water. All in all everybody will be in a great mood.
When you attend a Fasching parade as a spectator make sure to have a plan for parking. Usually the city center will be closed off for the parade, which will make finding parking difficult. Don’t stand too close to the parade because there will be cars where most people will be drunk and might throw bottles (yes, it has happened).
Other Germany Ja Articles about Fasching/Karneval: