February 27, 2006
When the Scum Hits the Streets
Good, clean and wholesome humour for the entire family. Even the children are having fun. Haha.
Every foreigner, who would like to go beyond the knowledge of the mainstream media to gather information about Germany and the Germans, beyond soppy candlelight vigils and "Save The Toads and Hug A Tree" action, ought to watch Rhenish carnival. That is where the German street is letting their hair down. (I realize I am having trouble with my metaphors here, but never mind, just consider it's Rose Monday today! Haha.)
Letting one's hair down is being, of course, strictly regulated in Germany. The 'official' Karnevalszeit (carnival season) starts on the 11th of the 11th (November) at 11:11h. Haha! This is when the Karnevalsvereine (carnival clubs) start their preparations. One of them would be putting up the elaborate Karnevalswagen (carnival wagons -- floats) for the Karnevalszug (carnival parade).
Things come to a climax before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, starting with the Thursday before, called Weiberfastnacht (women's carnival). According to an old tradition, women cut off the ties of male politicians, colleagues and whoever comes along that day. Haha!
On Rose Monday, carnival parades take place, where the German street give vent to their sense of humour and mocking the authorities. Haha.
Funkenmariechen, dancers mocking the military. Haha.
Themed waggon, Düsseldorf 2003, showing then opposition leader Angela Merkel up Bush's arse. The mocking of authorities is hugely selective. Haha.
Cologne 2005, Cardinal Meisner burning a woman who had an abortion at the stakes. Haha. (And guess what: Nobody rioted!)
Even the dourest politicians don't dare to NOT make a fool of themselves: Here Edmund Stoiber, head of the conservative Christian Democratic Union. (Yes, I kid you not!) Haha.
Another themed wagon from Cologne boldly mocking the authorities: "The last ones are buggering of" - "We are just taking a little trip to Lichtenstein [sic!] and Jaffo." 1934, that was. Ha bloody ha.
Tell us how you REALLY feel Mr. Average German!
Oh by the way, all the carnival associations have decided not to address Islam as a subject this year. Hahaha.
To do the Germans justice, a lot of them flee from this heathen spectacle to safely carnival-free German regions or even for a holiday abroad. Or, like me, don't leave the house because the risk to be run over my a pissed-as-a-newt driver is considerable, as is the risk to run over a pissed-as-a-newt pedestrian and although the latter may have some appeal, I don't think it's worth the trouble.
Thanks to Gudrun Eussner who provided the eye-opening picture of the carnival parade Cologne 1934, which so impressively demonstrates how outspoken and daringly Germans mock the authorities if only the circumstances are right.