Most Americans are familiar with Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday. In Germany, the high point of Karneval is Rosenmontag (Rose Monday). Karneval actually officially starts on November 11 at 11:11, but the season really gets going on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. In our region, it is known as Weiberfastnacht, or Ladies Karneval. If you know a female member of our group, ask her about it!
On Monday the parade wound through the city: with over 100 floats and groups, it was something to see. Most groups on floats throw candy, and yelling Helau! can raise your chances of getting some. Many people also dress up in costumes, making it feel a little bit like Halloween for Americans. We saw everything from Little Red Riding Hood to monks and giraffes.
Karneval is also a great time to try out German street/fair food. There were lots of vendors in the city selling Wurst, french fries red and white (with ketchup and mayonnaise), crepes and beverages. It is also the big time of year for Berliner, which are a jelly-filled doughnut rolled in sugar. No wonder Kennedy claimed to be one!
After all of the excitement of Karneval, students enjoyed a quiet week of classes before we left for Hamburg...