Fasching in Germany 2018
- SWATHI RAMASWAMY
- UPDATED May 09, 2018
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In the German speaking countries, Fasching is celebrated as the Roman Catholic Shrovetide carnival. This carnival has many regional differences that concern the name, duration and activities of the carnival. In Austria and Bavaria, this carnival is known as Fasching. This carnival starts on the 11th day of November, just 11 minutes after the clock strikes 11 am, and ends on Shroud Tuesday during midnight. This carnival is also known as Fat Tuesday. The Protestants and non-Christian people refrain from celebrating this festival. The exact historical origin of this particular festival is not known yet. The rituals of this festival and the observance of its rites can be found in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival.
1. Origin of Fasching Festival
This festival had its genesis in the cities of Mainz and Speyer and in the year 1234, it was already established in Cologne. This festival has its own traditions. It was not only something that was celebrated just before the lent, but it was during this festival, the monotonous rules and orders of daily life were broken. This festival gave women the right to celebrate, express their opinion by handing them over the keys of the city. Noisy costumed parades, masked balls, satirical plays, newspaper columns, speeches got inspirations from this festival. These all are still common elements of this festival. After the reformation, when the protestant areas of Europe prohibited these Roman Catholic excesses, Fasching lost its popularity and slowly started to die out.
However, in Germany, especially in the Rhineland area, this tradition goes back to medieval times where there were existence of many countries under harsh rules of the kings and princes. Thus, they flaunted before each other their glory and splendor at their population’s expense.
2. The procedure of celebration of Fasching festival
During the time of the festival in the history, the common masses got the chance to interact and communicate with their rulers. Most of the time, they made a mock government consisting of eleven people and also other officials. It was during this season a prince and a princess were selected for ruling the country. However, all the humorous and satirical speeches ridiculed the political authorities, sovereigns and high placed persons. For avoiding punishment and persecution, these antics were played out anonymously. The days and nights were filled with dancing in the streets, parades, masquerade balls and comical skits. This festival has become annual event all over the world.
3. Few interesting facts about the celebration of Fasching Festival
The season of this carnival formally starts earlier on November 11th at 11:11 am. This celebration marks the beginning of what is referred as the “fifth” season. In the weeks that leads up to the festivities these carnival clubs meet for discussing upcoming performances, parades and costumes. Cologne being the most popular carnival capital of Germany kicks off this festival with a “Women’s carnival”. This unofficial holiday is marked by women dressing up in costumes and misbehaving in harmless ways and most importantly, by taking up the control for a day. The men leave only a short stump of their masculinity by cutting off their ties. In return, the women gives their male victims a peck on the cheek.
4. Fashing Germany Events
Rose Monday: Parades Through the lands
The Monday after the women’s carnival is called Rosenmontag or Rose Monday. This day however marks the official start of the event for all the popular parades. But Cologne is famous for the largest parade. More than one million people wait for this event anxiously with utmost excitement and anticipation. This parade takes almost five hours to pass by. Everyone dresses up as clowns, wizards, witches or in military uniforms that were prevalent during Napoleon's reign. It was during the Napoleon's period only the parade had its inception, back in the year 1823, when Napoleon was defeated in Europe marked by the withdrew of the French troops in the Rhineland.
The Rose Monday Floats
The “Rose Monday” floats in the parade portrays a variety of art and themes. They usually deal with current situations and perspectives at the time of carnival. For example, a float can make fun of the current government situations. The end of the parade is marked by free roaming and wild marchers often dressed in crazy costumes as they gather in the side of the streets to celebrate the carnival. There are many bars that remain open during the early hours of the morning enabling the spirit of the carnival to reign in streets and public squares.
The next day is also known as Karnevalsduenstag or Shrove Tuesday. The season ends with this carnival. People celebrate this day with small parties and parades throughout Germany. But the carnival enthusiasts call this day as Fat tuesday or Mardi Gras. In fact, this day is the highlight of the carnival season in many places. Colorful crowds, by taking over the streets, create a very cheerful ambience.
Fasching is mainly an orthodox celebration of Roman Catholic and Christian religion. This festival is also accompanied by great food by the street vendors so that the mood of the festival can be infused into the people. Germany is the craziest and enthusiast centre of celebration of this carnival.