Fasching: Germany's "Silly Season"

Members of the 52nd Fighter Wing leadership team join in the festivities during 2017 Storming of the Rathaus Fasching event in Bitburg, Germany, Feb. 23, 2017. The celebration has ties with both seasonal and religious observances in German culture. (U.S Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dawn M. Weber)

Members of the 52nd Fighter Wing leadership team join in the festivities during 2017 Storming of the Rathaus Fasching event in Bitburg, Germany, Feb. 23, 2017. The celebration has ties with both seasonal and religious observances in German culture. (U.S Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dawn M. Weber)

Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany --
German carnival or Fasching is just around the corner, celebrated in February throughout Germany.

Currently, Karneval clubs in the Eifel are also planning Fasching events to include Kappensitzung celebrations and parades.

Fat Thursday signals the beginning of the five day “Silly Season” in Germany and takes place Feb. 8 this year. Popular on this day is the storming of city halls in German cities and communities. Ladies, known as “Moehnen”, dressed in old-fashioned outfits with masks, are responsible for storming the halls. They arrive at 11:11 a.m. in a group ready to capture the city hall.

After obtaining the symbolic key, they will be in charge of the city or community for the day. To underline the tradition, women are allowed to cut off the tie of any man within reach. Dancing and celebrating will follow the events.

Base members may opt to see storming of the Bitburg and Wittlich. People dress up and gather around the halls, cheering and laughing. Many of them carry a camera to capture the madness.

On Rose Monday, which is Feb. 12 this year, many cities and communities will host Fasching parades. It takes a lot of effort for the countless Karneval associations to build decorative wagons and organize the Rose Monday parades. The "Prinz" and "Prinzessin" (prince and princess) command a uniformed guard, the "Prinzengarde" (prince's garde) in the parade. In the larger cities, floats often include a Dreigestirn (three Stars): the Carnival Prince (known as Sein Totallität, ‘His Craziness’), the Bauer (peasant) and the Jungfrau (virgin), featured by males. The floats not only try to be beautiful but also represent satirical, political and traditional topics. As the floats pass by, the costumed revelers aboard pelt the street crowds with throws and sweets, while they sing traditional Fasching songs.
Rose Monday actually has nothing to do with roses, but during the parades, the Prince likes to hand out roses to the ladies. Rose Monday is not an official holiday but in many parts of Germany stores are closed, and people usually get the day off.

A Kappensitzung, which literally stands for "silly hat session," is a traditional German celebration.

A Kappensitzung is a fun-filled evening event with special guests, comedy music and dancing. Kappensitzungen last about four to five hours, and comedians will often roast and poke jokes on people in between the entertainment events. Fasching music and open-dancing usually follows the official party.

A large number of Kappensitzung events take place on weekends now until right before Ladies Fasching.

Kappensitzung literally stands for "silly hat session," and is a traditional German celebration. A Kappensitzung Fasching celebration includes comedy and dancing on stage. An Elferrat (the Council of Eleven), plans and moderates the festivities in consultation with the Karneval associations.

Comedians and regular people from a city or community, who are interested in presenting a speech, may participate as well as dance groups. The celebration usually lasts about four to five hours and people will roast and poke jokes in between entertainment events.The speeches range from funny to satirical and highly political. At a Kappensitzung, speakers enjoy "Narrenfreiheit" (fools' liberty), the license of a court jester who had the liberty to speak unpopular truths as long as they were humorous. Fasching music and open-dancing usually follow the official part of the festivities. Special guests, including politicians and community leaders are often invited to a Kappensitzung as listeners.

See below for the dates and times of local parades. Have fun!

Sat 10 Feb
14:11 Schleid
14:11 Oberkail
14:11 Speicher
19:11 Idenheim

Sun 11 Feb
14:11 Bitburg
14:11 Spangdahlem
14:11 Preist
14:11 Orenhofen
14:11 Biersdorf
14:11 Kyllburg
14:11 Bettingen

Mon 12 Feb
11:11 Cologne
11:11 Mainz
12:11 Trier
13:30 Pickliessem
14:11 Dudeldorf
14:11 Alsdorf
14:11 Oberweis
14:11 Wiersdorf
14:11 Neuerburg