Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, and… Karneval. November 11 actually marks the turn of the fifth season, but after New Year’s is when it really starts to get visibly underway. Come January 2, local Karneval clubs raise their primary-colored flags, bakeries decorate with streamers and jesters, and department stores fill with costumes.
Costumes. A must for parade-goers of ALL ages – kids, teens, adults, and seniors alike.
Last year James and I got hats and leis with the colors of the German flag (which came in handy again during World Cup season) but this year we want to go all out. After wading through a sea of capes, silly hats, and animal onesies (ladybugs and bees look particularly popular this year), we came out with a bunch of clown gear. After all, this is a fool’s holiday.
Then as we watched a Christmas tree that had been tossed to the curb literally blow away in the wind, we made our way to Mainz’s Fastnachtsmuseum to get into the holiday spirit. Fastnacht or Fasching are other words for the Karneval time of year, leading up to and ending with Ash Wednesday. Mainz vies with Köln for throwing the biggest and craziest Karneval celebrations each year, and the city is filled year-round with Karneval-inspired statues. The museum is cozy and filled with colorful costumes, giant caricature heads and videos from parades past, float design boards, and lots of Mainzer history.
For more description of the fifth season, see What is Fasching All About? where I sum up my first impressions from last year’s celebrations. More on this again in mid-February when the main events take place this year. Helau!