Karneval in Germany

Tomorrow is the start of Karneval in Germany.

It will all start at exactly eleven minutes past eleven. On the dot.

If you are an unsuspecting male visitor here in the Rhineland, the first you’ll know about it is when a horde of middle aged women in coloured wigs and clown noses descends on you wielding scissors. They will then cut off your tie. Possibly your shoelaces as well. Laugh about it (even if it was an expensive tie).

You see, tomorrow is Altweiberfastnacht…  “ladies’ day” if you’re being polite… or “old crones’ day” if you’re not. Don’t worry… they’re only emasculating you. Have a beer and lament your lost manhood.

The Altweiber will not detain you once you’ve lost your gender-symbol. They’ll continue on their way to the Rathaus, where they will force entry, storm the mayor’s office and eject him (also minus his manhood) until next Tuesday, installing their Karneval Prince in his place. The lunatics have taken over the asylum. Don’t panic. Have another beer.

Karneval is the start of five days of mad excessive celebration. Everyone on the streets, in the bars and in shops and businesses will be wearing fancy dress and drinking to excess. Half of the population throws themselves into the madness… and the other half flees the cities, either barricading themselves into their homes for five days, or heading for the airport to escape.

School children particularly love Karneval. They go to school in fancy dress and spend their time partying and spraying each other with silly string. Well it’s more fun than doing sums.

The older ones leave school at eleven minutes past eleven and hit the town with the rest of the adult population… arriving home late afternoon, trying to disguise their underage drunkenness as youthful exuberence. It usually works. Their parents have been dressed as clowns and drinking beer since before midday too.

The question is whether to hide, or whether to join in the madness….


Filed under German festivals, Life in Germany

7 responses to “Karneval in Germany

  1. peasepudding

    Hi Cathy, I lived 8 years in Frankfurt and spent just the one Fasching in Duesseldorf. Your article made me smile, I think I would enjoy your book. I will have a look on Amazon. Thanks

  2. well, boy am i glad i’m not a man. I think I would be safe in Munich, though. Things don’t really get crazy here until next tuesday, Faschingsdienstag. Then the crazies emerge…

  3. I’m always trying to keep up. Isn’t there a also carnival that starts at 11:11 on November 11th?

  4. Yes Ian. The “Fünfte Jahreszeit” actually starts on 11. November at 11.11 a.m. and lasts until Shrove Tuesday (the day after Rosen Montag).
    Of course not much happens between 11.11 and Altweiberfastnacht, except in the Karnevalsvereine where they have their weekly sessions (drinking, singing and stand up comedy in local dialect).

    For the rest of us unwashed masses, tomorrow is the start of the five day drinking marathon.

  5. You either love or hate it. True 😀
    As a Teen I always got upset about people that ignore you the whole year and comes Thursday 11.11. they think they can hug and kiss you (gggrrr).
    Comes Wednesday the week after the next year of ignoring you has started.
    Madness indeed 😉
    Now I’m older and it’s easier for me to ignore those dumb a****.Easier as well, because I only visit and don’t live there permanently no more (thank goodness)

  6. Karneval begins on the 11th hour of the 11th Day on the 11th Month (November) Finishes tomorrow.

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