Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I can remember my first winter in Germany.  It was gray and dull and not too cold but cold enough that you couldn't be outside for long amounts of time.  Then came February.  Again, gray, dull and cold, but towards the end of the month, just before Lent, I started seeing lots of people dressed up like Halloween.  Igor took me to a (very funny and strange) concert/party at our local neighborhood meeting room (Bornheim Saalbau), where I had my first exposure to German "Schlager" music (no idea how to describe this music...) and to Germans during Fasching time. 

Basically, this holiday originates from wanting to be as foolish/without morals/without boundaries as possible right before the Lentin time.  (not something our family supports.)  There's Rose Monday and Fasching (Tuesday - Fasnacht for the Pennsylvania Dutch), where you can buy tons of "kreppels"  (doughnuts) right before you give up sugar for Lent.  Parades, dressing up in costumes, eating lots of sweets - this is what I acquaint with Fasching.  And like Halloween, the origins and some of the customs are opposite to what we think is good and right.  However (like Halloween), I'm glad we're now in a time where we can enjoy the light-hearted side of Fasching by celebrating with costumes (we have knights, vikings, princesses, and Roman soldiers in our house this year).

We spent the afternoon with some friends from Monkey's kindergarten who live directly on the parade route - perfect.  I stayed inside with Bubba and the other little ones (and some moms) while Igor helped teach Monkey and Sissy the finer points of gathering much candy/free stuff (it's amazing what gets handed out at parades - soup, roses, beer, "gluhwein" (hot spiced wine)).

At the end of the day, this was definitely a fun way to spend a Tuesday:)

Does your town or country have traditions specific to just your area?  Have you ever dressed up for Fasching/Fasnacht?

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