2016 Carnival Guide – Understanding Fasching

Fasching is a traditional German celebration – also known as Karneval or Fastnacht. It is carnival season, which has been celebrated for centuries by people worldwide who have German heritage. It’s utterly bonkers and terrific fun – get involved!

Fasching can be documented back to pre-Roman times. These times were entirely difficult for the average person and so the carnival season was a chance to be free, enjoy life and have some fun in a world where fun was non existent for many. The masks and costumes of today date back to the medieval times when they were not in place as fun decorations but as ways to avoid punishment and persecution as carnival goers would mock the strict rulers of the day, had they not used masks to disguise themselves they would have been caught and death would have been an inevitability. 

Fasching is celebrated in all German speaking countries and it’s timing in the year is poignant as it is just before the fasting season of Lent, which is when many people will forsake food as a sacrifice for religious reasons. Fasching allows a person to have a huge celebration, indulge, enjoy and embrace all that is good before things are out of bounds during Lent.

Germany is the country which holds the largest and most vibrant carnivals to celebrate the Fasching season with every city having it’s own celebrations. The city of Cologne (Köln) probably holds one of the biggest carnival celebrations in the country. Many places of work see this time as a public holiday, though it is not yet officially recognized as one. This means to have the time off, your boss needs to be a fan!

Altweiber Fastnacht

The Fasching celebrations begin with the ‘Woman’s Carnival’ which happens on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, also known as Altweiber Fastnach. This is a day when women can express their freedom and have a lot of fun! Ladies are encouraged to cut the ties of men and also place kisses on a man of their fancy, it is a flirty, fun and much looked forward to event – from both genders!

Rosenmontag

Rosenmontag or Rose Monday is what comes next; this is a major highlight with many dancers, marching bands, float parades and the streets filled with entertainment for all. These days the masks mentioned are more extravagant and more modern with the faces of politicians and prolific figures caricaturized upon them. Look out for masks and edifices of German leader, Angela Merkel!

Fastnachtdienstag

The celebrations come to an end on Ash Wednesday but prior to this is the much sought after Shrove Tuesday or Fastnachtdienstag in German. This is where you get don on your finery and attend many costume balls that are held all over Germany.

Carnival costumes for childrenCostumes

Fasching is very much a time where everyone, and especially children, like to dress up in fancy dress to take part in the fun. You will notice all the German department stores around you will start promoting their fancy dress costumes ready for the parties and parades of fasching.

For those of you based in the Kaiserslautern/Ramstein areas, VABO Pirmasens is a great place to get your Fasching costumes! For more party supplies and costume shops, check out page 256 in the KMC edition of the Find-It-Guide.

Narrenrufe

Narrenfufe is the collective name of the various Carnival greetings that people call out to each other in the street during carnival season. Each city/region tends to have its own so its good to learn your local Narrenruf so you can join in the fun!

Fasching Parades Near Your Military Installation:

(Kaiserslautern Area)
Feb 4 @ 8 p.m.
Carnival Party in Ramstein
Haus des Buergers, Am Neuen Markt 4

Feb 4 @ 8 p.m.
Speckball (Carnival Party) in Bruchmuehlback-Miseau/Eischbach
Dorfgemeinschaftshaus, Am Weiher 2

Feb 7-8 Carnival Party for Children in Bruchmuehlback-Miseau/Eischbach
Dorfgemeinschaftshaus, Am Weiher 2

Feb 8
Carnival Party for Children in Quirnbach/Pfalz
Hauptstrasse 13, Helle Saal

Feb 8 @ 1:11 p.m.
Shrove Monday Procession in Shoenenberg-Kuebelberg

Feb 8 @ 3:11 p.m.
Shrove Monday Procession in Krottelbach

Feb 9 @ 2 p.m.
Ramstein Carnival Parade in the City Center

(Wiesbaden Area)
Feb. 6 @ 3:33 p.m.
Kinder Fasching Parade in Elsässer Platz

Feb. 7 @ 1:11 p.m
Fasching Parade in Elsässer Platz

Feb. 7 @ 1:11 p.m.
Bad Schwalbach Parade in the City Center
Adolfstraße

Feb. 8, 11:11 a.m.
Rose Monday Parade in Mainz
Domplatz

Feb. 8 @ 10:30 a.m.
Rose Monday Parade in Cologne
Alter Markt

(Stuttgart Area)
Feb. 5 @ 3 p.m.
Kinderfasching in Sindelfingen
Bleichmühlestraße 11

Feb. 5 @ 9 and 2 p.m.
Faschingfest and Kinderfest
Kinderkaufhaus Zorella in Stuttgart
Hackstraße 9

Feb 6
Kinderfasching in Stuttgart
Karneval-Gesellschaft Grün-Weiss Stuttgart 1951 e.V.
Gaußstraße 127

Feb. 6 @ 2 p.m.
Kinderfasching in Leinfelden-Echterdingen
Walter-Schweizer-Kulturforum Goldäcker
Schimmelwiesenstraße 18

Feb. 6 @ 2:30 p.m.
Faschingsumzug (Parade) in Waiblingen
Galerie Stihl Waiblingen
Weingärtner Vorstadt

Feb. 6 @ 7 p.m.
Night Fasching Parade in Murrhardt
Marktplatz

Feb. 7 @ 1:15 p.m.
Faschingsumzug (Parade) in Neuhausen auf den Fildern
Narrenbund Neuhausen e.V.
Klosterstraße 1

Feb. 7 @ 5:30 p.m.
Kinderfasching in Stuttgart
Kinder- Und Jugendhaus Stammheim
Marco-Polo-Weg 2A

Feb. 7 @ 2 p.m.
Kinderfasching in die Eiswelt (Skating rink) in Stuttgart
Keßlerweg 8

Feb. 7 @ 3 p.m.
Kinderfasching in Sindelfingen
Siebenbürger Sachsen Kreis Böblingen e.V.
Schwenninger Straße 8

Feb. 7 @ 4 p.m.
Fasching Sunday in Bad Cannstatt (Stuttgart)
Kübelesmarkt e.V., Küblergasse 10

Feb. 8 @ 1 p.m.
Faschingsumzug (Parade) in Böblingen
Stadtmitte, Schlossberg 3

Feb. 8 @ 2 p.m.
Rosenmontagsempfang und Kinderfasching (Parade) in Stuttgart
Stuttgarter Rathaus
Marktplatz 1

Feb. 8 @ 2 p.m.
Kinderfasching in Stuttgart
Liederhalle Hegelsaal
Berliner Platz 1

Feb. 8 @ 2:30 p.m.
Kinderfasching in Esslingen am Neckar
Osterfeldhalle, Köngener Straße 51

Feb. 9 @ 1 p.m.
Marcher Kinderfasching in Marbach am Neckar
Stadtverwaltung Marbach am Neckar
Marktstraße 23

Feb. 9 @ 2 p.m.
Kinderfasching Party in Esslingen am Neckar
SportPavillon TSV Berkheim 1895 e.V.
Schulstraße 64

Feb. 9 @ 2 p.m.
Largest Fasching Parade in Stuttgart
Sophie-Tschorn-Straße 61

Featured Image Photo Credit:  © pixabay: Efraimstochter

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