Fasching celebrations continue through Tuesday

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Visitors coming to Ramstein-Miesenbach to watch the Fasching parade are having fun in fantasy costumes. — Photo by Stefan Layes

Germany’s fifth season called “Fastnacht” or “Fasching” will continue through Tuesday with masquerade balls, dances, children’s parties and funny sessions.
A special Fasching highlight are the Rose Monday parades. The most famous ones are those leading through the main Fasching cities of Mainz, Koeln and Duesseldorf. Spectators from Germany and throughout Europe come to these cities to watch the annual spectacle with decorated floats, bands, dancing and marching groups. Participants in vehicles throw out candy or hand out drinks to the crowds along the streets. It is traditional for revelers to sing, sway and dance during the five-hour parades which all start at 11:11 a.m.
The official Fasching greeting in Koeln is “Alaaf,” and in Mainz and Duesseldorf, it’s “Helau.”
The day is called Rose Monday because the organization committee of the Koeln parade, which was founded in 1824, had its general membership meetings on Monday after the so-called Rose Sunday, also known as mid-lent Sunday or Laetare Sunday. Originally this day was the third Sunday before Easter. Since the eleventh century, the Pope dedicated a Golden Rose to a deserved personality that day. Since 1830, the day was called Rose Monday.
Kaiserslautern will have no parade, but a Rose Monday party from 11:11 a.m. to 6:11 p.m. in the center of town on Schillerplatz.
On Fasching Tuesday, or shrove Tuesday, celebrations will continue 2:11 to 5 p.m. near Stiftskirche, where a stage will be put up. The local Fasching association, KVK, will present its Fasching princess, dancing groups and other members. The official shout is “Kalau.”
A Fasching carnival with rides and booths will take place Saturday through Tuesday near Stiftskirche.
In most German states, children don’t have school Shrove Tuesday. And usually, people who work take off in the early afternoon. In most cases, employers allow them to do so, and stores, banks and official institutions close anyhow at 1 or 2 p.m. Tuesday.
In order not to compete with the big Rose Monday parades, Ramstein-Miesenbach has its parade Shrove Tuesday. The official Fasching shout is “Ralau.”
“We expect to welcome more than 1,000 participants joining our 67th parade on Shrove Tuesday,” said Hartmut Schaeffner, chief of the parade committee.
Eleven carnival associations, 15 floats and 40 walking groups will start the parade at 2 p.m.
“Also, eight music bands including the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Dixie Band will walk in the parade, that will be about 2 hours long.”
Other U.S. participants will be the firefighters from the Ramstein Fire Department with a fire truck, the Roller Girls of the Apocalypse and Charles H. Cook with a 2016 Chevrolet Corvette American 650 horsepower.
More than 50,000 promoting items to include candies will be tossed to spectators along the 2.4 km route. Food and beverage booths will be set up. To be able to finance each year’s parade, vendors will be out in the streets selling parade buttons for €2 to spectators. These buttons grant free admission to the Fasching party, which takes place after the parade at the Haus des Bürgers.
“Our Fasching Princess Lena I and the Bruchkatze Carnival Association are shouting ‘Ralau’ and wish everybody a good time,” said Schaeffner. “We are asking parents to watch their children and for safety reasons, spectators should not get too close to the floats.”
Tuesday, the center of Ramstein-Miesenbach and Bahnhofstrasse will be closed to motorized vehicles from noon to 8 p.m.
Other Fasching events in the Pfalz will be a street Fasching celebration at 1 p.m. Saturday in Waldfischbach-Burgalben, and at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Leimen and Linden. A Fasching parade will lead through Dahn starting at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Monday, the village of Krottelbach will sponsor a Fasching parade at 1:11 p.m., and Rockenhausen will start the parade at 2:11 p.m. to be followed by an entertaining program on Marktplatz
Ash Wednesday will end the crazy season. Carnival association members and party-goers meet one more time for their traditional “Heringsessen,” the eating of herring. The herring is supposed to help ease hangovers. Also on Ash Wednesday, Lent, a 40-day fasting period for Roman Catholics starts.

Each year, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band takes part in the Fasching parade leading through Ramstein-Miesenbach on Shrove Tuesday. — Photo by Stefan Layes