What is fasching? Compare it to Mardi Gras, Carnivale, etc. In Germany, this season last from 11 November at 23:11 at night (11-11-11, to be exact) and ends with Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent. Each area celebrates in their own way. I did not realize that the season lasted this long. When we lived in Italy, Carnevale di Venezia was huge (see my post about this). In our little town of Vilseck, there are several celebrations.
There are smaller celebrations in towns depending on the club and who throws the party. Many towns hold a “Ladies Night,” which is held on the Thursday before Lent begins. On this day, women rule in Germany! There is record of women overtaking town halls, city councils, and businesses for this day. The best tradition, outside of the huge party in each town, is the cutting of mens’ ties. Women can cut off the ties of men on this day to symbolize their power. Funny, right?
This past Sunday, Vilseck held a Fasching parade, which ran through the entire town center and most of the town. The girls and I walked down from our house with our friends. It was fantastic! The parade participants were eclectic in costumes and floats, and they literally threw tons of candy into the crowd. My German-lady basket came in handy to catch and collect all the goodies. Europe is notorious for being a little more acceptable with sexuality, but there was only one float that I shielded the girls from (a bunch of men in Borat-style swimsuits gyrating? Meredith helped me hide them from that!). It was awesome!
If you ever feel like attending the festivities through Fasching, and I highly recommend it, the best tip I can give you is to drink. Seriously. Everyone in the parade was loaded. Adults in the parade were handing out shots while toting wagons with crates for empty beer bottles. There were entire floats of drunken people dancing and swinging their beer bottles. I am not suggesting that one needs to be drunk to enjoy the festival, but from Sunday to Fat Tuesday at least, it is a period of letting go. And while in this crowd, it feels fun to swig a beer or two, each some bratwurst, and let loose for a little while in a ridiculous costume. That was the other one – wear a costume! Even if it stupid, wear it. There is no right or wrong thing to wear.
Next year, I will be better prepared. Here are a few pictures to enjoy until then!