Thursday, February 15, 2007

Karneval (Thursday)

Sadly, no pictures today (my camera's out of batteries and nothing is open until tomorrow), but I've been told that today marks the beginning of the Karneval madness that lasts through Monday (but oddly enough, not Tuesday). Today is Weiberfastnacht, the women's day. I've read that the women symbolically take over the town hall across the river in Beuel. I missed the big stuff (all events start at 11:11 in the morning), though, and by the time I got out (beautiful day today, 50 F and blue skies) to look around, all there was left was people in costumes, crowded around the pubs, eating and drinking. Today is also the day that women can go around and cut off the ties worn by men (I did see one man wearing the remnants of a tie at the train station!).

As for the costumes, rest assured I will get pictures this weekend, but it seems like people will dress as a group with their friends, with popular costumes being animals (full animal suits!), clowns, soldiers, and monks. I also saw a bunch of Pippi Longstockings. I also saw at least one group carrying fake handguns, which seemed really odd to me (I'm pretty sure waving around a fake handgun on the street in the U.S. will get you shot). Also no sign of any public drinking laws in Germany.

One more thing, at the pub this week, one of the students explained to me that while Karneval had a religious component and origin, a good portion of the festivities are designed to make fun of the French. So it's not just an American thing.

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