11 February 2006


BerlinBear avatarIt's carnival, or rather Karneval time here in Germany. This means that everyone - or at least everyone not in the North-Eastern part of Germany which used to be Prussia, where they are much to serious and mature to take part in such silliness - is gearing up to dress up in crazy costumes, attend parades, call everyone else 'madman' and 'madwoman' and mean it nicely, get hammered in public, yell made-up, regionally-specific words such as "Helau", "Alaaf" and "Ho, Narro! S'geht dogege", and generally make fools of themselves on Rosenmontag (German link) which is on the 27th February this year.

One of the preferred methods for getting into the mood for Karneval is huge televised celebrations of buffoonery, political satire, ridiculous songs, dancing, comedy and general silliness, such as that which I'm currently watching on TV.

I don't know how they do it, but they actually manage to get numerous very prominent politicians, including government Ministers, opposition party leaders and so on, to participate in these things. They turn up, fully kitted out in ridiculous costumes, sing and clap along with the rest of the audience, and then laugh their heads off as the performers, satirists, singers and comedians mercilessly take the piss out of them, based on things they've done and said in the past year. It shows a great deal of good humour - so often missing from politics - but also a certain amount of perverse masochism, I reckon.

I've been in Germany for numerous "fifth seasons" now, and I don't think I'll ever get it. It's kind of amusing in a puerile sort of a way, but I can't really get into it. Maybe, like Vegemite, it's the kind of thing you have to grow up with.

I get the impression that Karneval/Fastnacht is a big deal here in Trier. There are a lot posters about advertising various parties and so forth, so when the time comes I might try to get out and take some photos of the silliness and post them here.