Fasching, Germany’s “crazy season” will continue through Tuesday with masquerade balls, dances, children’s parties, funny sessions and colorful parades. Ramstein-Miesenbach’s carnival association Bruchkatze will sponsor its parade on Fat Tuesday, whereas most other towns will have theirs as a highlight on Rose Monday.
The most famous Fasching parades are those in the main Fasching cities of Mainz, Köln and Düsseldorf. 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 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 Köln is “Alaaf,” and in Mainz and Düsseldorf, it’s “Helau.”
In Ramstein-Miesenbach, Fasching participants shout “Ralau.” The almost 2-hour long parade will start 2 p.m. Tuesday. It will lead from Bahnhofstrasse to Landstuhler Strasse, on to Jahn-, Siedlungs-, Lilien-, Spesbacher- and Miesenbacherstrasse back to Bahnhofstrasse and then August-Suessdorfstrasse, where it will end.
“More than 1,600 persons from 39 clubs registered to participate,” said Hartmut Schäffner, chief of the parade committee. “We also have about 460 Americans from 15 groups who like to join our traditional event.” As in recent years, the U. S. Air Forces in Europe marching band will perform in the streets. Other groups will be the Ramstein Girls Scouts with 12 troops, the Ramstein High School Step Team with 12 people, the Sembach Girl Scouts with about 200 girls and adults, and the Roller Girls of the Apocalypse with 25 participants.
Twenty-seven decorated floats and 80 walking groups will present different themes such as “Star Wars”, “Indians” and “Beneath the Sea.” More than 48,000 promotion items to include candies will be tossed to 30,000 to 50,000 spectators. Food and beverage booths will be placed throughout the 2.4 kilometer route. Residents along the route are asked to decorate their houses to support the celebration.
“We kindly ask parents to watch their kids, and for safety reasons, spectators shouldn’t get too close to the floats,” said Schäffner. There will be vendors again selling parade buttons for €2 to spectators,” Schäffner added. “This helps to finance the event.” After the parade, the party continues at the Haus des Bürgers. Spectators will have free admission to the Fasching party with their buttons.
“Polizei, the volunteer fire brigade, German Red Cross, office of public order and military police support us each year and help to make the event a success,” said Schäffner.
A Fasching carnival with a merry-go-round and activity booths will be set up from Sunday through Tuesday on Marktplatz. The center of Ramstein-Miesenbach is closed Tuesday to motorized vehicles from noon to 8 p.m. “Fasching Princess Nadine I. and all Bruchkatze members are happy to welcome spectators from all over to join the fun,” said Schäffner. Other parades in the Pfalz are held Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in Linden, and at 2 p.m. in Trippstadt, Dahn and Rodalben.
Many towns offer outdoor Fasching events on Shrove Tuesday.
In Kaiserslautern, a Fasching party with performances and disc jockeys will start 11:11 a.m. Rose Monday between Schillerplatz and Stiftskirche. On Shrove Tuesday, a stage will be set up near the Rathaus (city hall). The local Fasching association, KVK, will present its Fasching princess, dancing groups and other members. The official shout in Kaiserslautern is “Kalau.” A Fasching carnival with rides, a Ferris wheel, food and candy booths will take place Saturday through Tuesday around 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 at 1 or 2 p.m. Tuesday.
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.