***image1***“Kalau” everybody! Fasching, Germany’s “crazy season,” reaches its peak from now until Tuesday with masquerade balls, dances, children’s parties and fun sessions.
And, for all of you first-time Fasching-goers, a special highlight of the week’s events are the Rose Monday parades.
The most famous ones are in Mainz, Köln and Düsseldorf, where the entire city participates in this annual fest. Spectators from all of Germany and Europe will descend on these cities for a front-row seat to the spectacle of decorated floats, bands, dancing and marching groups. Participants in the parades will throw candy and hand out drinks to the crowds along the streets.
And, it’s tradition 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 and Düsseldorf is “Alaaf;” in Mainz, it’s “Helau;” and in Kaiserslautern, the official shout is “Kalau.”
The name “Rose Monday” dates back to 1824, when the organizational committee of the Köln parade 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 11th century, the Pope dedicated a Golden Rose to a deserved personality that day. Since 1830, the day was called Rose Monday.
In order not to compete with the big Rose Monday parades, Ramstein-
Miesenbach has its parade Shrove Tuesday. Other parades in the Pfalz are held Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in Linden and at 2 p.m. in Trippstadt, Dahn, Leimen and Rodalben.
Many towns offer outdoor Fasching events on Shrove Tuesday. Local carnival associations entertain visitors with dance and some members will give funny speeches. Often, the council members of the carnival associations invite prominent personalities of the town, including the mayor, to come on stage to make fun of them.
***image2***In Kaiserslautern, a stage is set up next to Stiftskirche. The local Fasching association, KVK, will present its Fasching princess, Eva I, and dancing groups. There will be a Fasching carnival with rides and booths from Saturday to Tuesday at the old theater parking lot next to Karstadt department store.
In most German states, children don’t have school on Shrove Tuesday. And usually, people who work take off in the early afternoon. Most stores, banks and official institutions close at 1 or 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Ash Wednesday ends the crazy season − the day that carnival members and party-goers meet one last time for their traditional “Heringsessen” − eating of herring. The herring is supposed to help ease hangovers.
Lent, a 40-day fasting period for Roman Catholics, begins on Ash Wednesday.