“She was carrying two coffees and a donut bag, and right then and there, he fell in love.” – Jill Shalvis Animal Magnetism
Free week this week on the FourFoxesOneHound website, and even though it might be the obvious thing to talk about Valentine’s Day, there’s something even closer to my heart that is happening this week!
German tradition – sorry, I hope I don’t bore you with it!
It traditionally begins on the 11th November and culminates in the days before Ash Wednesday – this week! Oh boy, and I miss it! My home town is Mainz, and it’s one of the cities famous for its celebrations, parades and jollity! We call it “Meenzer Fassenacht”.
The tradition of carnival can be traced back to the Christian moveable feasts, where Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and occurs forty-six days (forty days not counting Sundays) before Easter. The first written records of the tradition date from the 13th and 14th century. By that time, regulations against excessive gluttony and debauchery during the days before carnival had been established. The word „Fastnacht“ or carnival occurs for the first time during the 13th century. Details about the old Mainz carnival are not thoroughly covered in primary sources. A scripture of the Mainz humanist writer Dietrich Gresemund dated to the end of the 15th century describes carnival as an unorganized Volksfest comprising masquerade, meals, drinking and dancing during day and night. He describes the celebrants engaging in crude jokes or, under the protection of their masks, excessive quarrelling. Simultaneously, huge carnival celebrations at the electoral court happened, where the roles at the court were rearranged at random. In 1664 the prince elector drew the role of the electoral cabinetmaker, in 1668 he was cup-bearer and had to serve all guests. This habit was called „Mainzer Königreich“ (Mainz kingdom). This roleplaying tradition continued until the last elector, Friedrich Karl Joseph von Erthal, terminated it in 1775.
I have very fond memories of the carnival season, with getting dressed up as a cowboy, indian, witch, punk (in later years … LOL) and I think even as a clown one year. It must be every child’s dream. We would go to the parades over a couple of days, scream “helau” from the top of our lungs and were rewarded with lollies, treats or toys. No school, of course, for one or two days. I was talking to my mum just last week and we were reminiscing about my birthday parties. Having my birthday just a few days/weeks before the “Rosenmontag” (the main day on the calendar for carnival), we had a “carnival” party with everyone being dressed up. I vividly remember it like it was yesterday. Big thanks to mum – five to six kids (mostly cowboys or indians) in a small apartment for about two hours, on a high; I reckon she deserves a medal.
One day I hope to take my girls over for a carnival season, considering how much they like to dress up, they’d have an absolute ball.
When you were a kid, did you like to dress up?