A paper mache Angela Merkel? It must be Deutsch Karneval time!

Here comes the beginning of German Karneval, dedicated to eating, drinking, skiving work and making abusive floats to criticise the cretins that run the country. What a thoroughly brilliant idea.

This Monday 15 February is Rosenmontag (Rosey Monday if you’re not feeling very international), when our German brothers from other mothers will be kicking off the major Karneval festivities. They’re biggest around Germany’s cities – Dusseldorf, Mainz and Cologne and the parades will be trooping through the towns.

In true Blue Peter style, here’s the four steps to a truly Deutsch Karneval.

Step one: tie bells to your ankles and produce a terrifying mask to frighten away the winter spirits, the irritating tweeny brats in Asda and, possibly, all your friends.

Kids in Dusseldorf in traditional Karneval costume. It's like watching Rosie and Jim while on a trolley full of drugs.

Step two: make a massive meal and invite all those that didn’t flee from your hideous mask. Obviously there’s a recession on, so this could be the last of your spicy bean burgers/Yazoo milkshake/coco pops. It will be worth it.

Step three: Make a pimp-my-politician style effigy of your least favourite ruling personality – personally I’m opting for the rather Greasy Pete Mandleson because, as he already looks like something you would find lurking under a bridge, he should give me a head start.

Step four: Declare winter over. Horah! Here comes the spring.

My favourite German Frau – the ever patient, although slightly terrifying, Dorothea – explained to my class that this year the German populace would be flaunting floats particularly dedicated to (or should I say ‘aimed at’) the unpopular German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Naturally, they will also feature Obama – or Oh-blah-ma as he is now known.

One of the 2009 Cologne floats showed a naked Merkel with the 'problem areas' of her body marked out for surgery, including the plunging economy and government debt.

The current German pope, Pope Benedict XVI can also expect to be criticised through the art of paper mache after making several faux pas with the German public for saying, in 2009, that condoms increase the problem of Aids, for criticising gay rights and equal rights as being ‘against the natural order of things’ and for inviting Richard Williamson, a Holocaust-denying bishop, back into the Catholic church. Nice.

The word Karneval is though to come from a mixture of Italian and Latin origins and basically means ‘the end of the meat’. It is thought to be a celebration developed as a way of allowing the repressed peasantry of Europe to vent their frustration with the bourgeoisie in order to avoid a riot. So for a week the lower classes were allowed to wear fancy clothes, speak out of turn to their rulers, dance, be noisy and generally carnivourous.

Catholicism has always remained wary of the celebration, because of its unseemly merry nature and its pagan Middleage origins. However the church was unable to stamp out the tradition, which takes place in varying forms across France, Switzerland, Denmark, Cyprus, parts of India, Greece and Russia. The English celebrate a watered down version with Shrove Tuesday – where we make pancakes. We also have carnivals like Notting Hill in July – but it’s the equivalent of a funeral party compared to the street stomping, pub-parties that are going on out there.

For those woman who remain unconvinced by Valentines Day and all that ridiculous card shop frippery, take note: in Germany there is Weiberfastnacht (women’s carnival night) on the Thursday before Rosenmontag – that’s this Thursday 12 February. To uphold this tradition women are allowed to cut off the tie of any man within reach, and to kiss any man they want to. Women going out to pubs take scissors with them.

I’m not sure what the Home Office would make of thousands of British women taking to the streets with scissors, but it would make for an interesting night down at Zanzibar!

Want to read more about the traditions involved in German Karneval? Try here.

Check out some of the images Google has to offer.

And have a Guten Karneval!

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2 Responses to “A paper mache Angela Merkel? It must be Deutsch Karneval time!”

  1. Adult Costumes Says:

    Great Post

  2. Wahrsagen Says:

    Your wordpress theme looks cool!

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