Dateline: GERMANY, Monday, February 10, 1997 (Rosenmontag)
The Carnival season in Germany ("Fifth Season") officially begins on November 11th, at 11:11 a.m. In this magic hour, the "Council of Eleven" comes together to plan the events for the upcoming festivities. The official hats of the councils' members: Colorful fool's caps with little bells. Their duties: organize the actual celebrations of the German carnival which all take place the week before Lent begins--about 40 days before Easter. These festivities are the last big party before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. There are events, parades, and traditional activities that fill the week of revelry.
Women’s Carnival Thursday
The celebrations kick off with "Women’s Carnival" on Thursday before Ash Wednesday. Ladies love this day: they can kiss any man they like--after cutting off his tie. The pretty German secretary in our office at Panzer Kaserne had a collection of at least 40 snipped ties she'd nailed to her office wall as a testament to her prowess. Women's Carnival is known by many named in Germany: der Weiberfastnacht, Fastelabend, Schmutziger, Donnerstagor, Schmotzige, Dunschstig, Dorendonderdach, feister Phinztag, gumpiger Donstag, kleine Fastnacht (Oberrhein), fetter Donnerstag, schwerer Donnerstag (Rheinland),Semperstag, tumbe Fassnacht, unsinniger Donnerstag, Weiberdonnerstag, wuetig Donnerstag, Wuscheltag (Basel), Zemperstag, Zimpertag.
This video was published in Jan 2013, but it brought back some great memories for me. Note that shouts of “Helau!” — the traditional Mainz Carnival greeting — fill the air.
Rose Monday der Rosenmontag, and the Rose Monday Parade der Rosenmontagumzug is a big deal. Rosenmontag actually has nothing to do with roses, but is derived from rasen, to rave or rage! This is the big parade day for Karneval in Cologne and Mainz, while Fasching in the south reaches its climax on Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras, "Fat Tuesday"). Shrove Tuesday is also known as der Fastnachtsdienstag, der Faschingsdienstag
Almost every German city celebrates Carnival and organizes a Shrove Tuesday street parade in its city center. The best and most traditional Carnival festivities take place in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Münster, and Aachen.
On Shrove Tuesday evening, costume balls are held all over Germany. Special treats are made to enjoy prior to the fast of Lent. These treats usually contain the last of the pantry's lard and sugar. The quiet Ash Wednesday marks the end of the frenzied fun.