Carnival is called the feast and customs with which many people celebrate the days before Lent. Lent is between Ash Wednesday and Easter. The carnival has no fixed date, but depends on Easter and thus on the first full moon in spring. Sometimes the carnival celebrations can start at the end of January, sometimes only at the beginning of March. Because the time interval for Easter is always the same.
The most famous German carnival cities are Cologne, Mainz and Düsseldorf. In central Germany, southern Germany and Austria this festival is also called Fasching and in Switzerland and Swabia Fasnacht. Carnival is celebrated in many European countries, but there are also carnival customs on other continents, for example in the Caribbean and South America. The carnival of Rio de Janeiro, a large city in Brazil, is very well known.
In German-speaking countries, the carnival begins already on the eleventh of November at eleven o’clock eleven of the year before. During this time until the festival in spring, for example, the carnival clubs hold their meetings and practice musical pieces. This is sometimes called the fifth season.
The carnival festival lasts five or six days every year. It starts on a Thursday, which is called Weiberfastnacht. They celebrate on all other days, of which the Rose Monday is the highlight. The carnival ends on Ash Wednesday.
Why celebrate carnival?
Immediately after the carnival, the six-week Lent begins, always until Easter. Christianity sees this period as a preparation for Easter. Because there are so many waivers coming up in Lent, the carnival is used beforehand to celebrate properly again.
People often feel longing and also a little thoughtful at this feast. Many songs are about time and how it passes, but also about the fact that we all have to die at some point. Therefore, one should be cheerful in the time that still remains.
How is carnival celebrated?
At a carnival parade in Tannheim, in Bavaria: The Narrenzunft Stadtbachhexen celebrates.
The special feature of the carnival is that people dress up and walk around the city in many different, colorful costumes. Popular disguises are pirate, cowboy, Indian, various animals, angels and so on.
Quite famous for the carnival are the street parades, also called carnival parades. They often consist of different groups or large, colorful floats of the carnival clubs. People watching the train shout in Cologne “Kamelle!”so that you can throw them a variety of sweets, bouquets or other small things.
There have always been calls for fools at carnival, the most famous are “Helau“, among others in Düsseldorf and Mainz, and ”Alaaf” in Cologne. Every year, the “Cologne Triumvirate” is also elected in the clubs there. This consists of prince, peasant and maiden, but mostly all three are men.
When the carnival ends at midnight on the night of Ash Wednesday, there is still a custom in Cologne to burn a large straw doll, which is called “Nubbel”. People think that with this they get rid of their sins committed during carnival.
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