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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Thursday, 12 February 2015


Throughout the Rhineland it is (and has been since the 11th of November) the Karneval season. This involves dressing up in silly clothes, singing, listening to awful jokes, Karneval Princes and Princesses (plus Bauer and Jungfrau in Cologne),  Tanzmariechen (you don't want to know) and, of course, drinking prodigious amounts of beer (if you are taking it seriously). And this is before you even get to the street parades just before Easter when officially and unofficially people bunk off work and school. We have German TV at home so can follow the main events on WDR from Dusseldorf, Cologne and Mainz that are a staple of the programming at this time of year.

What is really amazing is how noncommercial most of it is. Karneval doesn't have particularly long historical roots - at least in its present form - but it is a genuinely popular form of civic action mainly sustained by local voluntary Karneval associations in which ordinary people spend enormous amounts of time planning and organizing events (OK and drinking a lot of beer too). There is also a tremendous amount of good natured civic pride in putting on a good show. For many people it is the highlight of the year and a Rhinelander will proudly tell you that South German Fastnacht or Fasching is nothing like the real deal. Kölle Alaaf!

To get into the spirit here's Brings. Un mie Hätz, dat litt mer op d'r Zung.

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