Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gone crazy like the Germans

After five years of living in a sleepy town in Germany, there are relatively few occasions one can actually look forward to.One of this seldon event is Faschnacht Karneval/ or the German Carnival . Germans call this prelenten season the fifth and narrische Saison or the foolish season. On these days, the usual staid and well disciplined Germans finally let their hair down and party like animals....literally speaking. I don't know if it's their devotion and love to this tradition or the overflowing alcohol ( which is handed down for free on the streets) that flares the spirits of these usually level headed people up to the highest level.

German Carnival is famous for its elaborate parades. The Carnival week usually begins on Schmotziger Donnerstag or   Fat_Thursday and parades are often held on Rosenmontag or Rose Monday . It is celebrated on different days in different regions. The actual celebration of this carnival  relys on the date of easter.Each region may differ in art of celebration but big cities and small communities share the same boisterous mood.

German tradition believes that wearing scary mask and making some noise could drive the cold and hard winter away . Faschnacht parade is filled with marchers wearing caricature mask of ugly looking witches, mutated animals, demons, creatures of unknown origin and the scariest of them all....politicians! I guess we have to give it a more serious try this year after experiencing such a bitter and hard winter . 

There are few pointers one has to bear in mind during this carnival parade.  Marchers take on and involve spectators. Unlike the carnival in ther other parts of the world where audiences are left on the background alone, the crowd during German Carnival is an important member of the parade as the marchers! Be a sport because anybody who wears a costume could literraly swing you off your feet  , shove some unknown liquid in your throat and bathe you with confetti . Saying NO is a tabu, if you don't want to get harassed, don't be there! Only people who who wants to be crazy for a days can come. So Yours trull Says, " Auf wiedersehen" ( good bye and see you again) because I'm off to party with the crazy Germans. Here are Some pictures to give you a peek of this n√§rrische/crazy day.

Our usually quiet and almost empty streets 3 hours before the carnival parade.

Then it begins. Happy viewing! Beware lots and lots pictures ahead! Here we go...

There goes the politicians and famous people. Like the real people they mockingly represents...nobody cares!. he he

The prettiest girls in the crowd are often grab my these wicked witches ( or should I say wizard in a skirt?) . They will have their fun and get away with it. In this case, a serious pampering involving a confetti bath. Yikes that's going to itch for days! Few brave but exhausted vacuum cleaners died at many homes that night.

Another girl was grabbed and was ''forced'' to sit on the lap of a witch on this gigantic flightless broomstick. The group of witches then tilts the broom leaving the girl no  choice but to shriek in laughter and cling to her abductor. With this thick costume you'll never know who's behind it. It could be some guy she never wanted to talk to in school. Or maybe, this could be her ex whom she never wanted to see again! Ok, my imagination's running wild again......

If they are not off grabbing pretty girls, these ''witches'' loves showing off. Attention grabbing as they are, they basically do everything.They roll over the street,tease kids and adults alike, make a short play and in this case do some flips . Considering how heavy that wooden mask is and the many layers of skirts and bloomer, it is not an easy fit. These guys aren't so bad. The crown loooves them! Who wouldn't?

Even the kids love them! This little fireman ( or fireboy?!) always gets a handful of sweets from the passing witches. Not only confetti rained that day. Candies, lollypops, popcorns, chocolates are thrown at spectators! There goes your cavities!

Unfortunately, the little boy's granddad has to get a handful of confetti on the back of his neck ,everytime the boy gets his sweets! Kudos to this old man, he remained a good sport until the end. Even asked me if such amazing celebration is present in Japan. Bless him, he thought I'm Japanese!(^^) I don't this this guy's been to Asia. 

Each marcher has a bag or big deep pockets with them. It is filled with either treats or tricks. Spectators only have to hope the mask parader coming to their direction has something nice to give. Most of the time however, it is something else.

Each group of marches has their own group of young girls in short skirts wearing a uniform. Reminds me of majorettes back home. At the demand of spectators, these girls must perform a brief show, like a  tap dance. Everytime the crown roars ''Schenkel-a hooooch!'' (from schenkel meaning legs and  hoch for high) they must raise their legs up high to show their white and  skintight undergarments . Lots of middle aged men screamed their cords hoarse that afternoon.

Girls in uniform in their ready position. They march on with both hands on their hips and when somebody on the crowd barks Schenkel-a hoch!, the nearest girl have to do the signature move.

Smart move. Could almost hear some groaning at the background.

Liquors, snaps and some liquids of unknown substances are handed down to appreciating and grateful crowd. Here's the catch, there's only ONE glass. Drunk today Herpes tomorrow?! Well they would not  call it narrische/crazy season for nothing. There's no room for  inhibitions today and hygiene issues are simply thrown out of the window. So zum Wohl then! ( cheers!)

Would you drink something with a menacing color given by a randon stranger in a mask? It's Faschnacht, of course!


Costume check or pebble on your shoe?

Colgate smile.

Mad Max tops and Lola Basyang botton. No fashion flops today. Everything's okey.

Another security man  in skirt. There's always somebody infront of the float who make sure nobody gets injure by the passing floats. Streets are rather narrow, you see. Drinking while on duty is allowed.

Another guy in skirt riding the float having a blasted time. Throwing confetti all over the place as if he owned it. I guess he won't be so enthusiastic if he job requires cleaning the streets the day after.

Then he yelled at the crowd ''Narriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!''  and the crowd bellowed back ''Narroooo'' . This constant hollering between the marchers and the spectators goes on and on to keep the mood constantly high. Shout outs like ''Helau'' ( hello ), Schenkel-a hoch  ( legs up) and Narri! Narro!  from the word nar meaning fools/crazy, roared for hours. Greetings may vary in other regions.

Anyway, there's no point calling in sick at work just to join this carnival parade. The lost of voice and blood shot eyes from excessive drinking and partying is enough to give you in. Besides, one of the witches who just gave you a drink on the parade could be your own boss! Be honest, take a holiday...the whole team might have  done it already.

Not so funny looking clowns with big and generous hearts.
The kids loved them and they surely adore them back!

The animal kingdom was well represented. A pack of volves were there.

Few have sleeping pups in tow.

Birds and some hatchlings pushing their nest .....filled with confetti.

Cats that  I bet,  my whole year salary  drink everything but milk. I saw that tail and paw holding a mug of beer an hour later.Meow!

Donkey all the way from Mexico? Hola Amigo!

A mean looking wild boar with a big pouch filled with fat lollys. Kids went crazy.

And of course,  our forefathers must be there too. A group of  blond and brunette Apes with one clan member evolving too soon and drastically.

A tear eyed witch with  greying hair and an emptying liquor bottle at hand. Must be pretty good .

Star wars'  Darth Maul minus  lightsaber plus  a poisonous looking  infected urine yellow  colored liquor and a cup . Still deadly. Maybe that's the reason why bottle's still full.

Witches about to perform some witch-crap.

Monstrous musicians with serious dental issues.

When this Friar with a rather naughty looking mask approached me, I know I'm in trouble. With his left hand suspisciously starts digging the contents of his bag, I know I should have run for it. I got a handful of confetti that  sticks deep down to my undergarment few seconds after this shot. Okey I will leave it at that.

 No point getting involve heads on with these guys.

Another hairy and horny demon.

Hornless creature too cute to handle.

Look! Even the  Care Bears were there . And I thought they sleep on clouds and rainbows, eat only strawberries and drink rain drops. Papa Pink bear looks like he would rather have some beer.This Care bear is undeniably  German!

Some non traditional  parade members. Not only Barbie looks good in pink.

Blond cheerleaders with trashy make ups, hairy legs and adam apples bigger than their boobs. It's always great to see middle aged men dress up. They're my favorite.

Cheerleaders with their partying-too-early-players. Hmm the short ones ought wear the skirt and wig.

And if all those ugly beast and montrosities won't work then I hope this one would. Enough to scare the winter til next year. Baywatch inspired men in fake steroids and loose wetsuit. Where is Pamela Anderson  when we needed her?

Many more marchers big and small, funny and scary looking, nice and naughty had come. It took at least two hours for the whole parade to end.

As it comes to an end, the  kids got and picked enough sweets that would make dental appointments difficults to get in the coming weeks.

Even Ms. E who conspicously stayed quiet at the background manage to get a handful of sweets and an eyeball.

And when the  ladies had their share of spotlights and swift-of-my-feet-moments .

And  when the men have their fill of ''free'' spirits . Then, there's nothing left to do but to hope that the carnival had its purpose done. Winter winter go away! I am desperately hoping for a sunnier afternoons after this. 

The after party which lasted way longer ( until dawn) consist of loud music, singing , more nari naro shoutings ,even more  alcohol and probably few passed-out-and-woke-up-in-Emergency-room-scenarios.

Miss E had enough and decided to walk with this family of three back to the comfort of my quite home. I have to test my vacuum cleaner's endurance and hope it would not die on me before easter. Til next year again.

Food Fact about Faschnact/German Fasching Carnival :

Fascnacht is also always associated with  doughnut like pastry. Normally present all year round ,this pastries which is also called Berliner is often filled with marmalade or  pudding and coated  in powdered sugar. During the Faschnact season however,  more varieties  in different sizes and forms are  visible in every bakeshop.

Some are oval in shape and stuffed with fruit compote like plums.

Square ones filled with apple compote

 Some are filled with  nougat cream with choco frosting

Some small ones with quark dough, some with eggnogg or Eierlik√∂r filling, some holey like a typical dougnut , some frosted some not but everything is delicious and caloricious. No point going on diet on Faschnact.

Few are even frosted for the occasion! Helau!

And of course, there's the Scherben which is prepared, fried  and eaten only on Faschnact. Unlike its fat and volumous Berliner cousin, this paper thin and flat pastry is devoid of any fillings. Deep fried in oil and simply dusted with caster sugar, they are a real treat.

When it comes to drinks, well Germans drink basically everything as long as there's alcohol in it. They drink at home before the carnival parade, drink during the parade and drink some more after that!  Beer flooded, and emply liquor bottles will be visible on the street days after Faschnact ends. German certainly knows how to party. Can't wait for next year!

1 comment:

  1. by merely looking at these pictures, I feel like I have been there! Thank you for sharing Ms. Emily!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...