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Archive for the 'Fasching' Category

Aschermittwoch

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Aschermittwoch is the German name for Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.  Although it is not a public holiday, most companies will allow their employees time off during the day to go to church, if they wish to.

At church, people are blessed with a cross on the forehead made from the ashes of last year’s palm leaves.

This is also the day on which the policital parties hold their regional meetings.  The use them to plan for the coming political year, and also to critise the policies of their opponents.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Karnevalsumzug

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

The Karnevalsumzug is a procession that takes place during the main week of the Karneval season.

Taking place in many German towns, these involve a number of floats from local clubs and societies that often represent current political issues.  Particularly long processions can be seen in towns such as Cologne, Düsseldorf, Mainz and Hamburg.

Many floats throw sweets towards the on-lookers, causing the children to scramble after them.  There are also bands that play Guggemusik – which sounds somthing like modern hits being played by a brass band with steel drums.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Karnevalssitzung

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

A Karnevalssitzung is the name given to an event that takes place during the Karneval season, usually in the evening.

It takes place in a large hall and is organised by a Karnevalsverein.  Although this could be anytime between 11th November and Shrove Tuesday, it is more likely to be in the last week of the season.

During the evening there are performances by dance troups, Büttenredner – a sort of comedian who comments on current, often poltical, events, and a lot of singing.  The guests sit at long tables to eat and drink.

Chairing the event are the Elferrat.  The word Elf, refers not only to the number eleven – the carnival number, but also to an abbreviation of the motto of the French Revolution: Egalité, Liberté, Fraternité.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Die Narren

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Die Narren sind los! Die Narren is a name given to someone who entertains other people, much like a jester.

There are several versions as to where the word comes from. Some believe that it comes from the Latin word nario for turning one’s nose up at something, others claim it comes from narrare – to narrate or tell a story.

At carnival time the Narren refers to the people who dress up for processions and Sitzungen, and is also used as an adjective: närrisch.

There is also a saying in German “macht mich nicht närrisch” – don’t drive me mad!

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Berliner

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Berliners are a form of doughnut, often filled with jam.

The story of their invention is possibly only a legend, but it is said that they were created by a baker from Berlin who was trying to create something that could be cooked on a battlefield without an oven. He placed the balls of dough into hot fat to create the form that we know today.

The Konditorberliner in Hessen are normally filled with raspberry jam, but at carnival time there are Berliners without jam, with strawberry jam, iced, with coffee or even alcohol creams in them.

Other words for Berliner are: Krapfen, Kreppel and Fastnachtsküchle.

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