• Germany's news in English
 

Karneval – the schedule

Published: 07 Feb 2013 06:49 GMT+01:00

11:11 am on November 11

While the rest of Europe remembers those fallen in World War I on Armistice Day, a small group of over-zealous Germans annually choose this moment to pretend that the confluence of number ones gives them a reason to host a Karneval “opening.” Various modest events take place on the streets of Germany’s cities, including the presentation of the Karneval Prince and Princess, after which everyone goes home sheepishly. Then, nothing at all happens until…

January 6 – Dreikönigstag – Epiphany

An ancient feast day with its Orthodox origins was once chosen as the real start of Karneval in the German-speaking world. But again, not much happens, except to give Germany’s chartered accountants an official license to dress up as pirates and shout things like “Ho Narro!” behind you while you’re trying to drink a milkshake. As this day is fixed on the calendar, and Ash Wednesday, the conclusion of Karneval, is dependent on Easter, Karneval-time gets compressed some years. Last year’s Karneval was the shortest since 1913 – which was probably terribly upsetting for some pirate accountants.

Schmotziger Donnerstag – Fat Thursday

The Thursday before Ash Wednesday is the day that the first parades and street festivals appear. It is also known as Weiberfastnacht, which could be translated as Wenches’ Carnival. According to an ancient protocol, reborn with the modern Karneval-era in 1823, this is traditionally the day when “women and girls” rip off each other’s clothes in the street, and rub themselves a salty, artery-clogging fat called Schmalz – hence Schmotzig. Ok, ok that part about girls greasing down each other is not actually true, but we wish it was. Instead, women celebrate Weiberfastnacht by running around the Rhineland and snipping off the ties of men dumb enough to wear one this day. Supposedly they’re compensated for losing this symbol of their manhood with a kiss. It has also become tradition for groups of women to storm local town halls in the Rhineland to show who’s wearing the trousers.

Rosenmontag

The traditional Saturnalian highpoint of Karneval, named not after roses, but rasen, the German term for what the British call “going on a bender.” The centres of the Rhine cities get very crowded, and very sexually charged, usually by mid-morning. The drug of choice is Feigling, the fig-based liquor that is only drunk in a mood of desperate celebration, and the costumes are often quite suggestive. Put it this way – a lot people don’t come out for the parades with the satirical floats.

Fastnachtsdienstag – Shrove Tuesday – Mardi Gras

This is essentially an extension of Rosenmontag, but the atmosphere is slightly tempered by the impending end of the fifth season on Ash Wednesday. It is also known as Veilchendienstag, or Violet Tuesday – a continuation of the misleading flower theme which one innocent fool once used to name the whole Karneval weekend: Nelkensamstag (Carnation Saturday), Tulpensonntag, (Tulip Sunday) and Rosenmontag. However, flowers play very little part in proceedings.

Ben Knight (ben.knight@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Germanwings co-pilot buried in silence
A man walks past a makeshift memorial to the Germanwings flight 4U9525 victims in Düsseldorf airport. Photo: DPA

Germanwings co-pilot buried in silence

As the co-pilot who steered Germanwings flight 4U9525 into the French Alps in March was buried on Monday, the authorities prepared to unveil the first steps they will take to improve air safety. READ  

Feisty mum attacks kids with pepperspray
Photo: DPA

Feisty mum attacks kids with pepperspray

A 20-year-old mother attacked a group of children with pepper-spray on Sunday believing they weren't being considerate enough with her own child. READ  

Tunisia terrorist attack
Second German confirmed among dead
Photo: DPA

Second German confirmed among dead

UPDATE: The Foreign Ministry confirmed on Monday that at least two Germans were killed in the terrorist attack in Tunisia which took the lives of nearly forty people. READ  

Boy sues classmate over sore bottom
Photo: DPA

Boy sues classmate over sore bottom

A 15-year-old boy from Hanover is suing his classmate after he pulled a chair from underneath him as he was about to sit down. READ  

Two refugee home 'attacks' in as many days
Police guard a refugee home in Freital, Saxony. Photo: DPA

Two refugee home 'attacks' in as many days

Two planned refugee homes have gone up in flames in two days in suspected arson attacks by far-right groups. In both cases the homes were still unoccupied and no injuries have been reported. READ  

Nato warns Germany: pay your fair share
Photo: DPA

Nato warns Germany: pay your fair share

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg warned on Monday that Germany and other EU countries should increase their defence spending to meet the alliance's targets as crises develop around the world. READ  

Cycling group launches emergency repair service
Photo: DPA

Cycling group launches emergency repair service

Germany's bicycle association is introducing a new service for its members. If they have a puncture, all they need to do is put in a call and a repair man will be on his way to fix it. READ  

Three German sites up for Unesco recognition
Hamburg's Speicherstadt. Photo: CherryX/Wikimedia Commons

Three German sites up for Unesco recognition

Three German sites are up for inclusion in the prestigious UNESCO list of world heritage sites as the organization's committee meets in Bonn to consider the nominees. READ  

Greece default crisis
Merkel, Obama: Greece deal 'critically important'
Photo: DPA

Merkel, Obama: Greece deal 'critically important'

US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday agreed that Greece needed to find its way back to a path of reform without exiting the eurozone, the White House said. READ  

Berlin Gay Pride celebrates US ruling
Revellers at the annual Gay Pride parade in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Saturday. Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Berlin Gay Pride celebrates US ruling

Several hundred thousand people filled the streets of Berlin for the city's Gay Pride parade on Saturday, a day after the US Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriage nationwide. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
Politics
Follow our LIVE blog as Europe holds breath over Greece crisis
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Culture
What's top of the charts in June
Gallery
Germany's most beautiful cycle routes
Business & Money
The business case for Britain in the EU
Rhineland
Why farmers are free to pong up the countryside
National
German restaurants among world's best
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,744
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd