Saturday, March 8, 2014


Fasching- The Fifth Season of the Rhineland!

Fasching is the German speaking community's version of Carnival.  I was asking my friend Dorothe from Saarbrucken Germany what the difference is between Fasching and Carnival in Venice or France.  She paused and then jokingly responded, "Carnival is much more beautiful and classy than Fasching! But they are the same celebration.  She informed me, "Carnival is one last time to be naughty before Lent.  Time to get wild!"

Fasching developed as a way to express subversive anti-Prussian and anti-French thoughts in times of occupation, through parody and mockery.  Larger cities like Cologne and Mainz have extensive Fasching celebrations from parties to parades.   Celebrations kick off on Thursday before Ash Wednesday.  Women go into their man's place of work and cut off their ties.  Parties continue through the weekend where everyone dresses up as we would on Halloween. 

The kids had Fasching celebrations on Friday before Ash Wednesday.  Rowan dressed up as a butterfly and had a potluck lunch.  Teddy wore his Canadian hockey jersey to school, while Patrick was a ninja.  Their school had a large talent show and celebration.  Talents ranged from Irish dancing, musical instruments, to singing of sweet German songs.  In between the acts, the teachers would give brief intermissions where they would crank the music.  All the kids would hop on their feet and start singing along and dancing.  It was so much fun to watch.

On Tuesday, we attended the Ramstein village parade.  Each village has their own Fasching Greeting.  The people of Mainz yell, "Alaaf!" while throwing their hands in the air.  We joined in with all the people of Ramstein throwing our hands in the air yelling, "Haleau!"  

With the incredible weather we've been having, there were people out on their lawns with grills going handing out brots.  I was a bit surprised to see people IN the parade with beer int their hand.  There was even a woman walking down the street in costume double fisting her shots.  At one point there was a decorated car making its way down the parade route.  The driver threw the car into park.  Quickly, the gentleman in the driver's seat jumped out and ran behind the industrial building behind us to take a quick pee.  

The kids had a great time filling their parade bags with candy and dancing to all the music.  I saw some new dance moves emerging from the kids and their friends we were standing with.  We had so much fun soaking up this unseasonably beautiful weather.  Spirits were high!  Fasching might just be our new favorite holiday!

Teddy and Patrick's Fasching celebration at school

Liam on the parade route

Get those candy bags ready!

Ocean theme parade float

My kids with their good friend Jack.  He is in German school with them.  
These kids spend 2 hours of intense German language instruction
together.  They have become pretty tight!

We love band music!

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