Tuesday was 'Fasching,' or 'Faschnacht,' which literally translates, 'Fasting' or 'Fasting Night.' Now, I think that the Germans are a bit confused as to what 'fasting' means, because let me just tell you, there was nothing like fasting going on that day. Rather, it was a day of partying, debauchery, and straight up craziness. I think that this is why a lot of people just refer to this day as 'Karnival,' because that is what it is. Basically, it is the German version of Mardi Gras.
We knew something was up when, a few weeks ago, the displays in the big department store's windows went from fashionable winter attire to clown, lion and bumblebee costumes. About this same time we started noticing posters plastered around town advertising huge Faschnacht parties. Then, last weekend, stalls selling candy and bratwurst starting popping up in Universitaetplatz and along the Hauptstrasse. And to top it off, people thought it was cool to wear costumes while walking around town. Yes, something was definitely up.
On Tuesday, we got word that there was a big Fasching parade through town later that afternoon. A few hours before the parade was to begin, businesses started closing down for the day and cafes removed their tables and chairs from the street. Then, all the crazy people really started coming out of the woodwork.
You see, since Germany doesn't really celebrate Halloween, this is the only time people can get the costume thing out of their system. But dressing up in costumes isn't just for the kids. The adults really get into it too. And, thankfully, women in slutty costumes were not the norm.
why, hello, whimsical medieval couple
and the cutest lion ever!
these kids have their priorities straight: candy and warmth over displaying cool costumes
We found a great spot along the Hauptstrasse and waited for the action to begin.
And we waited. And we waited.
And when we couldn't feel our toes anymore, we went into a cafe and waited some more.
Then, at last, we heard the noises of a band in the distance. We joined the rest of the crowd outside and braced ourselves for the parade.