Yesterday was Rosenmontag (Rose Monday), part of Germany’s carnival celebrations before Lent. This is a time of year when Germans don silly costumes in order to overcompensate for generally being a serious and humorless people.
Well, the humorless part is not always true. But even The Mann admitted, after we sat silently (and with open mouths) staring at a carnival variety TV show one night wherein Germans very horribly attempted slapstick humor, that “This is not humor. Germans think that just because they put on silly costumes and make stupid jokes that they are being funny.”
Nevertheless, being quite unfamiliar with the German version of carnival, I was curious. I admittedly have never celebrated carnival anywhere. Only certain regions of Germany do celebrate carnival, and we happen to be living in a region that does.
I found that carnival made a nice transition after the Christmas season. It’s the next celebration to look forward to. In America, the winter months after Christmas seem empty and dreary, and it feels like a long wait for the next holiday. Here, it is refreshing in January to see the festive streamers and colorful decorations going up throughout the homes and shops in our village.
So yesterday we decided to make the trek into Seligenstadt to see their Rosenmontag parade. Frankfurt and Mainz of course have bigger and more famous parades, where the floats take on more of a political nature and there are larger crowds of drunk Germans. We thought it would be fun to see Seligenstadt’s parade, however. It was smaller and we felt more in contact with the parade.
There were marching bands, funny floats, and colorful costumes. As the parade participants walked by, they shouted “Seligenstadt!” and the crowd shouted back “Hellau!” Many people in the crowd were drinking heavily and eating pretzels from the rolling pretzel cart, and well, several people in the parade were doing the same as they marched by.
Most of the people in the crowd wore costumes, and people in the parade threw candy from the floats, so it felt oddly like Halloween to me. The children clutched their bags and filled them with candy.
One dude on a float threw down some bags of popcorn. One of the bags landed at my feet, and the kid next to us didn’t seem to see it, so I took it. Then The Mann laughed at me for stealing treats from a kid. Yep, that’s right. I steal candy from babies. Like a kid, I had my bag ready, and I scored a paltry amount of candy. I don’t know what it is in my American psyche that makes me go wild for free things. But it’s true. People throw some really nasty candy from a float, and I wildly scamper around the dirty street grabbing it. When I got home, of course I didn’t really want the candy, that stuff is nasty tasting, so I ended up throwing most of it out.
It was fr-fr-fr-fr-fr-freezing yesterday – way too cold for a parade – and by the time it was over we were thoroughly frozen. But I had so much fun, and when I went home I felt affection for the Germans and their brand of fun.
Below are a few of my pictures from the parade. Hellau!
The parade is over. The dejected Bunny Mann goes home. The, um, end.