Witches, Monsters And Pigs' Bladders --- Crazy Carnival (2)
February 15, 2017 12:16pm CST
Germany has two different traditions when it comes to Carnival. It's Karneval in Cologne* and the Rhineland in the West of the country and 'Fasnacht'’ (also Fasnet/Fassenacht) in the towns and villages of the Alpine areas of Austria, Southern Germany, the Black Forest, the area around Lake Constance, and in German-speaking France and Switzerland. (from the net) "... wherever Alemannic tribes had settled, the Swabian-Alemannic Fasnacht is celebrated, a more pagan affair in which the old traditions of driving out winter have mingled with the pre-Lenten celebrations. The celebrants dress as spirits, demons, and witches wearing heavy wooden masks, intricately carved and handed down from generation to generation. . . everyone in the group wears the same costume, walks the same and behaves the same.” Some years ago I was in the town of Rottweil, the German centre of the Swabian-Alemannic Fasnacht, where the so-called Fool’s Jump (Narrensprung) is celebrated. No carriages here satirising current political affairs, only group after group (around 50 if I remember correctly), with around 30 members each dressed up and wearing masks. One doesn’t know if a man or a woman is under them. They jump around on long staffs making a lot of noise with bells and rattles. Every now and then they grab some on-lookers and whirl them around for a while or hit them with a dried pig’s bladder fastened to a stick. Rather spooky the whole thing. I’ve given you a lot of information and colourful descriptions in my two posts on the topic*. You may want to know now what *I* think about it. Well, I hate it with all my heart! I always thought that I belong to a tiny minority what with the fans and aficionados making such a lot of hullaballoo and mayhem and the media full of all the events, but the other day I learnt that that is not the case. According to a survey 54% of all Germans are against Fasnacht/Fasching/Karneval, only 27% are for it! The rest doesn't care either way. The explanation that we suffer from repression, frustration and inhibitions all the year and that it is healthy for the system to explode once a year doesn’t convince me (and after Ash Wednesday people are as narrow-minded and square as before). I’m jolly or grumpy, merry or curmudgeonly when I feel like it and organised hilarity gives me the creeps. What is interesting from a sociological point of view is the fact that more and more organisations are founded celebrating traditional customs. In Berlin, for example, (the eastern part of Germany has always been Fasnacht/Fasching/Karneval free. This has to do with Catholicism. The regions where it is celebrated are all predominantly Catholic and the north and east of Germany are not) there is now a pageant, too. This may result from the fact that Europe is united now, that the world has become a global village and although people are in favour of this development they feel the urge to look for their roots and obviously some can find them dressing up as green witches or hairy monsters. --- *Click on the tag Crazy Carnival at the top of the page if you want to learn more.
12 people like this
• Manchester, England
@MALUSE The Eastern and Western Doctrines got together to discuss the Christians joining in a Sun worshipping festival on December 25th. Life was harsh in winter and deterring them would have been impossible, so they moved the celebration of Christ's birth to December 25th so they could claim that to be what the Christians were celebrating.
Carnival is something I never liked, even when I was young. There has always been a big parade in Nice (France) and we never went there even when we lived only at a few km from there. The 28th of February there is a parade also in the main cities here. I have planned not to go out from home.
• Bunbury, Australia
It's strange that so many are against the celebrations yet they keep happening. Understandable in a way of course. It is always difficult to stop such long-held traditions even if they are pretty stupid and the reason for them has long disappeared.
• Holiday, Florida
wow. seems every country has some weird and crazy celebration like that. maybe its just a way supposed "adults" can act like children. lol. without being hauled off to the looney ben. i don't care myself until it affect my space of happy. then it needs to stop or be taken where its appreciated or out in the wilderness some where.
• El Paso, Texas
That is fascinating. I once read a few articles in the Smithsonian magazine about the pagan rituals still being celebrated around the world and they did touch on the Fashing celebration only to explain that it was not celebrated as much as it had been before Catholicism incorporated it into their religion. It's roots are apparently thousands of years old.