SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
Fat Thursday signals the beginning of the five day “Silly Season” in Germany and takes place Feb. 28 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.
After obtaining the symbolic key, the Ladies will be in charge of the city or community for the day. To underline the tradition, the Moehnen are allowed to cut off men’s ties – typically those of mayors or businesspersons, taking away authority for the day. Dancing and celebrating throughout the cities will follow the official storming events.
Base members may opt to see stormings in Bitburg and Wittlich. People dress up and gather around the halls, cheering and laughing. Many of them carry a camera to capture the spectacle.
Communities throughout the Eifel will be hosting Fasching events Feb. 28 through March 5, including parades.
On Rose Monday, which is March 4, many cities and communities will host traditional Rose Monday Fashing parades. The cities of Cologne, Mainz and Duesseldorf are known for their lavish parades that attract ten thousands of observers every year from throughout the country and elsewhere. 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 businesses are closed and people enjoy the celebrations.
It has become a habit that children stand in the streets and stop cars during Fasching, asking for candy or coins. It is not a must to accommodate, but drivers are alerted to drive slowly through communities.
Alcohol will be consumed during Fasching events. Police controls are therefore enforced and people make transportation arrangements when attending fasching celebrations.
Fasching events come to an end the evening of Feb. 5 in Germany. The next day is Ash Wednesday, when Lent starts.