Fasching

Faschingsumzug in Mindelheim
Image Source: Augsburger Allgemeine

Fasching in Germany is a time of celebration and feasting in the period leading up to Lent.  The season is associated with the Carnival traditions that take place in many Western Christian countries.  Fasching, also known as Karneval or Fastnacht in different regions, officially begins at 11:11 am on November 11 and continues on until Ash Wednesday, or Aschermittwoch, in February of the following year.  While various events occur throughout this festive period, many of the most lively celebrations are reserved for the week leading up to Lent.  Beginning on Weiberfastnacht, or Fat Thursday, carnival weeks begins.

Weiberfastnacht is traditionally a day when women take over the city.  A man wearing a necktie might get his necktie cut off – or, if he’s lucky, he might get a kiss.  Rußiger Freitag, or Sooty Friday, is a day of dance and comedy and entertainment, with the proceedings broadcast on evening television.  Saturday (Schmalziger Samstag / Nelken Samstag, or Schmaltzy Saturday) and Sunday (Kappes Sonntag / Tulpen Sonntag, or Carnival Sunday) are reserved for parties and small parades.  On Rosenmontag, or Shrove Monday, large parades take place in the major German cities.  On Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fastnachtsdienstag or Veilchendienstag, the celebrations reach their peak.  Masquerade balls are held and in some regions, straw dolls are burned.  On the next day, Ash Wednesday, the celebrations end and the fasting of Lent begins.

For more information about the Fasching season, here are some links:

German Karneval Mardi Gras. The food, the fun, the Fasching! Helau and Alaaf!

The calls you’ll hear at Carnival – and what they mean

What is Fasching? And How Is Fasching / Karneval Celebrated in Germany?

Fasching Masks: A Tradition of Germany’s Pre-Lenten Season

Fasching and Karneval

Carnival starts on November 11 in Germany

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