Fasching is a good time in the Eifel

  • Published
  • By Iris Reiff
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Fasching is coming up soon, starting Feb. 27. It's known as the "Fifth Season" or "Silly Season" in Germany. People claim it's about chasing away winter spirits and welcoming spring with a number of sweet traditions.

Germany's Fasching or carnival session, similar to Mardi Gras, begins each year on Nov. 11 at 11:11 a.m. and finishes on Ash Wednesday of the following year with the main festivities happening around Rosenmontag, which is Rose Monday.

Storming of the Rathauses

Although many festivities and parties start as early as January, the actual carnival week starts on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday (or "Weiberfastnacht,") which is Feb. 27. The event often includes the Storming of the Rathauses or city halls, where local women challenge the mayor for control of the city.

There are a few traditions associated with this storming. One is the cutting of men's ties by the Fasching Ladies which can be a lot of fun to see.

Once the ladies capture the town, dances and celebrations occur inside and outside the city halls, in public spots, at banks and local guesthouses.

Many people dress up and enjoy the good times by singing and dancing in the streets.

The mayor of Bitburg, Joachim Kandels, invited a delegation of Spangdahlem Sabers to help him defend the Bitburg city hall at the same event at 11:11 a.m. The Airmen will try to hide the symbolic key to the city hall from the ladies until they are besieged.

Fasching Events

The big German carnival parades are held on the weekend before and especially on Rose Monday, which is March 3 this year. They are also held the day before Shrove Tuesday and sometimes also on Shrove Tuesday itself in the suburbs of larger carnival cities.

The Rhenish Carnival or Fasching (Rheinischer Karneval) mainly occurs in the cities of Koeln, Bonn and Aachen and is famous for celebrations such as parades and costume balls, and 'Kappensitzungen.'

What is a 'Kappensitzung?'"

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 every weekend until right before Ladies Fasching, costume balls and parades commence.

For those people who would like to enjoy a Kappensitzung and learn more about German Fasching traditions, Club Eifel will host such an event Friday, Feb. 28 at 7:11 p.m.

Good tips for Fasching

· You can only enjoy Fasching with a good sense of humor and if you can laugh about yourself. So don't take the "Silly Season" in Germany too seriously, and you will have a good time.

· Make sure to bring a camera and take a few souvenir photos at one of the many Fasching parades that may take place in your community that same weekend.

· Additionally, Trier will host a city parade at 12:11 a.m. until about 15:11 p.m. with celebrations happening throughout the city that day.