Fastnachtsumzug (a.k.a. Carnival Parade)

Hi there! As many places around the globe are celebrating Carnival, I’m adding this post from our first Carnival in Germany to the Sunday Traveler link up. Be sure to check out Chasing the Donkey and the other hosts for some fascinating travel reads.

Yesterday marked what I hope is the very end of this zany Carnival / Fastnachts fest.  Most of the city came out to see the parade that lasted two whole, entire hours.  Yep, I totally took a nap on the grass in the sun halfway through.  I had seen all the witches and weird masks I could take.

I still cannot wrap my mind around this crazy holiday.  I suppose this is due, in part, to the fact that no one can totally tell me what in the junk it is all about.  I did find this article that says a little bit, but still, I am clueless (and I am not in Mannheim which means that things are not the same in my city anyway).  And, yes, I have asked around.  And around.  And around.

So, since I can’t tell you anything more about this holiday that would further your intelligence, I’ll just show you a bit of the totally weird (and often freaky) festival that Fastnachts is.

The first set of pictures is from a smaller event on Sunday, apparently more for children.

Would you let your child accept candy from this character? His buddy gave T-Rex a piece that Doc Sci promptly threw away.

We figured out that the different costumes signify different groups in and around our city.

The suits are supposed to represent pinecones… huh?

Some had identifying markings on them. Perhaps the jackhammer guild?

And then you have the witches, dudes and all.

Some random Swiss folk.

Not everyone had traditional costumes. Some just wore their underwear.  Like, uh, literally.

And, my favorite, the oh-so-politically-incorrect Red Man. Drinking. Of course.

Speaking of drinking, we’re pretty sure this festival is simply an excuse to do just that.

And eat kilometers of sausage.

But no street party would be complete without your horror-flick clown band.

This was the only evidence we saw of anything for children. One lone, lame-looking catapult game.  No tokens, no stuffed animals.

Monday (also known as Rosenmontag) brought on the big bang boom parade.

Colorful costumes, creepy masks.

Witches, witches everywhere.

The creepiest part of this whole parade definitely had to be the masks. How the children did not run screaming I’ll never know.

Okay, babies? Really? Some even had pacifiers!

Ten bucks says there’s a dude under there.

I was told that decades ago, the witches used to go into the crowd and grab the children. I’m sure some lawsuit put an end to that. However, the scariest thing I saw were these mice who used those red ladder-lookin’ thingies to snatch hats and other things away from gawkers.

To be fair, there were marching bands, too. But they were far outnumbered by the crazy characters. And no baton twirlers. Boo. Hiss.

When I told my friends here I was going to this parade, they rolled their eyes.  Why would you want to do that?  One simple reason – so I never have to do it again!

Now that you’ve seen a taste of this madness, would you take your kids to this parade?Signature-Marigold


10 thoughts on “Fastnachtsumzug (a.k.a. Carnival Parade)

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  3. OH How fun what town is this in? I am in Cologne/Bonn the biggest Karneval Town in the Rhineland ~ I love this How fun! We love the parades and the costumes! Thank you for posting!

    • Hi! I have heard that Köln has the biggest (best?) Karneval parade in Germany. Ours festivities in Freiburg are much, much smaller and we have some traditions that are unique to the Black Forest (like the creepy masks and other things to scare away the winter). How do you like the craziness of Karneval in Köln??

  4. I actually like carnival parades :). As I understood they have something to do with lent period (people go crazy to prepare themselves for the period of fasting and abstinence). Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler!

  5. I’ve always wanted to go see carnival but never had a chance to go. Next year maybe! Though, some of those creatures sure had scary faces. Once would definitely be enough. Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler!

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