Carnival comes to Germany
The past month has been a very vibrant and active month for parts of Germany. It was carnival season; a time when everyone dresses up in bright costumes and descends on the village town hall to celebrate with one another. Unlike in Britain, where there tends to be a fancy dress code, the general theme was WEAR ANYTHING. A very foreign concept to me, as I usually have to dress up according to what a friend has decided! Local villages hosted carnival parties, which consisted of every citizen of the village creating some kind of act; singing; dancing; comedy, and then assembling it all in one big show. I was invited along to one of these evenings and was unsure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised! The show lasted for five hours, impressive considering the village is so small it doesn’t even have a train station, and reminded me of the TV programme Britain’s Got Talent, as some people’s performances were entertaining and others not so great.
Carnival in the bigger towns in Germany is an entirely different experience. On the last Monday of carnival, called ‘Rosenmontag’, whole towns are shut down; roads become impassable and all shops are closed. This is to make way for processions and parades and huge floats which cascade down the high street and pedestrian only zone. Ninjas followed by pirates followed by clowns and giant chickens crowd the streets throwing out sweets to children and playing loud music. People in the crowd are also dressed up. I wore a panda 'onesy' and my friend went as a Disney princess. It was a very bizarre experience walking into a nice café as a panda and being served by a mermaid. But at carnival time, everything goes!
It is a shame that there isn’t really a festival like this in the UK. I have never experienced such a jovial atmosphere and sense of community as I did on that day waving at gorillas and princes as they marched past me in the parade! It is a wonderful celebration and made me think that perhaps the UK could do with a party to bring it more together.