Fasching / Karneval (or Mardi Gras, Germany Style)

In keeping with the season, I’m republishing this post about the German version Mardi Gras.

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This post was originally published on February 22, 2012 and updated on February 25, 2020.

After I posted the photos of ice and lumber in my previous journal, I ventured to Bamberg to see the Bavarian version of Mardi Gras, or Fasching as they call it. It’s a huge deal in the northern part of the country, with Cologne and Dusseldorf being the capital of the craziness. However, here in Bavaria they celebrate it, too. Fasching officially starts on 11 November (11-11) at 11:00 a.m. The parties start about a week before Mardi Gras and culminate in a parade and, in places, huge firework displays and street celebrations. Here in my neighborhood it’s somewhat tamer, but there is a definite observation of the rites!

It’s a weird thing to see normally diligent, serious, hard-working Germans busting out in silly costumes. The parade has comparatively lame floats, but the enthusiasm of the participants and onlookers makes up for that. Plus there’s loud techno music and/or 80’s disco blaring from the beer trucks with hand-scrawled signs tacked on the side. Lots of candy is thrown into the crowd, but as far as I know no beads are thrown and, therefore, no shirts are lifted to get them. And it’s too cold to be scantily clad. But the Germans lend their own flavor to the event.

So, instead of being in church getting ashes on my forehead or locking away my stash of gummi bears, today I am posting these pictures I took of the festivities. I had the good fortune of a sunny day, happening upon the parade just before it started, and, later, a peach of a vantage point on the third story of the school where I work as the procession neared the market square.


This is about as elaborate as the floats get:

Never adjust your pantyhose in public:

I totally dig the heartbeat EKG thing he has going on:

After I took this picture, I started to realize that these kids maybe weren’t wearing costumes. Doesn’t this guy look like Boy George?

Local championship basketball team’s mascot:

This guy was the Fasching King or some such. Or Burgermeister. In any case he led the parade:


That’s right, practice your high kicks in the direction of the photographer!

Among all the racially, culturally, politically and religiously insensitive costumery, this one took the cake. I still am not sure WTF???

Note the silly string all over the police car:

After the fact:

Given the content of the foregoing photos, I am not including a Photo for No Apparent Reason Today. Happy Lent!