Sunday, February 22, 2009

Carnival in Germany

Most of you have heard of carnival in Rio, or even the carnival in Venice, and of course Mardi Gras. What do these have in common? They all mean party time and fun.... before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and fasting begins until Easter! During Lent, you are not supposed to have fun anymore, so during carnival people "let it all hang out", in every form of the term.

Different areas of Germany "celebrate" carnival in different ways, but it's generally a time of masquerade balls and other events, finishing off with parades, parties, and LOTS of drinking up until the Tuesday night before Ash Wednesday. In some cities, like Cologne, the people get really crazy. Germans have a reputation of being very stiff and having very little humor. Carnival season is the one time they can "be not themselves"!

But also, being German, the celebrations are quite "regulated". In Cologne they have what they call the "Dreigestirn" to reign over the festivities. They are 3 quite well-to-do men who have to pay quite a bit of money for the priviledge. One is the designated as prince, the other the farmer, and the third is the "virgin" (a man dressed as a woman). Here is a picture of this years Dreigestirn to give you an idea...

"Virgin", Prince, Farmer (Bauer)

In the town I once lived in, a "normal" Prince and Princess are pronounced. In some towns they were not to be a married couple (making the wives of some married princes get VERY jealous of the pretty princess at his side), yet in my town the couple could be married to each other. In 1982, my ex and I were the town's prince and princess!

Yep, that's me! Ah, those were the days..... it was a fun time. My birthday was on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the same day as the big parade. What a birthday celebration that was! It snowed terribly and can you believe it? We have NO pictures of the float we rode on or anything!

Here we received the key to the city from the town mayor.

Today I watched the parade go past my window. It was drizzly and cold, but the streets were still lined with people, all dressed in fun costumes. Yes, I took pictures, but they're not uploaded yet. But I wanted to share a bit about Carnival in Germany, or "Fasching" as it's called in some parts, is all about. This coming Tuesday I'll probably be going to my former town, the same town my daughter lives in, to once again watch their parade. And, in spite of the many years that have gone by, I'm still greeted there as Princess Dorrie I.!



  1. Oh this is a hoot. Thank you Westy for the cultural lesson!!!!


  2. Princess Dorrie has a nice ring to it! Sweet story!

  3. Very fun festivities indeed. I wonder how they pick the virgin . . . if they do it by coin toss or by who pays the least money.

  4. Sun, it's more like who can AFFORD it the most! It's often owners of business who can write some of the cost off their taxes as business expenses! I kid you not! My ex and I luckily didn't have that many expenses, but it was still expensive enough.

  5. (Bowing down before her and saying, "I'm not worthy. I'm not worthy! Oh, Princess Dorrie.") You know you're going to regret having told us that. That'll be your new name from now on here in BlogSpot. LOL. You looked SO pretty in those pictures. No wonder they picked you for their princess! Awesome entry. I had heard before,most of what you mentioned, but not about the farmer/prince/virgin thing. This was interesting! HUGS!

  6. Princess Dorrie,
    I'm not sorry,
    You're a friend
    To the blogger's end.

    Have a great week, eh?

  7. Aw! What a nice pic. You look great with a tiara!

  8. Our customs seem so boring compared to this.
    Kate's right, the picture is great!

  9. Hello, "Princess Dorrie ! I like that name for you. You do look pretty...the tiara is so cool!

    Awesome pictures and info! Thanks!

    In Miami Beach they have "Fat Tuesday."

  10. PS: Just stopping by AGAIN, to wish Princess Dorrie a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope it's your best ever! Hugs.

  11. Princess Dorrie, you and your Prince look divine in all your splendor indeed.

    Being a mere peasant, I could have hardly of asked for more than to kiss the hem of your garment and hoped for your blessing, on bended knee.

    You are truly a royal lady, worthy to rule and deserving of praise.

    I am your humble servant. I ask only to serve. Your wish is my will, Highness.

    Humbly submitted:
    Timothy of City, Rockford -- County, Winnebago

  12. heehee, sweet... are you requesting for Knighthood? ;-)

  13. My Lady, they don't make armor large enough for me. LOL