Fasching – The German Carnival

Confetti and streamers are absolutely necessary for Fasching (Photo: Pixabay)

The cliché of the Germans being serious all the time is well known, but in February it becomes clear just how wrong that stereotype can be: It’s time for Carnival.

Granted, mostly the western and southern parts of Germany – especially the Rhineland – go absolutely crazy during the festivities but also the people in northern or eastern regions of Germany like put on their costumes and celebrate the “fifth season” of the year.

That special season of merriment already begins on 11 November at exactly 11.11 a.m. and ends on “Aschermittwoch” (Ash Wednesday) of the following year with the main festivities happening around “Rosenmontag” (Rose Monday). Everyone likes to dress up in costumes, e.g. as pirates, witches or even comic-book heroes, and celebrate.

A special tradition in Germany is also the “Weiberfastnacht”, which means Women’s Carnival. On this day, Ladies are allowed to cut off a man’s tie and kiss him afterwards.

Almost every German city celebrates Carnival and some even organize street parades in the city center. Those usually take place on Rosenmontag and include marching bands, dancers and floats that are lavishly decorated. The floats often also show caricatured figures that intend to mock politicians or other personalities.

To not miss out on the festivities, here’s an overview on the most important days of Carnival in 2017:

  • Weiberfastnacht / Women’s Carnival: Thursday, 23 February
  • Rosenmontag / Rose Monday: Monday, 26 February
  • Fastnacht / Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday: Tuesday, 27 February
  • Aschermittwoch / Ash Wednesday: Wednesday, 28 February

If you want to take part in the festivities have a look at this page where you can find an overview on special Carnival parties: www.dresdennightlife.de/thema/fasching/

Text: S. Schückel

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