Having spent my entire 5+ years in Germany decidedly in the north of the country, I’m no expert on German Karneval (or Fasching). The heart of Carnival is really in Germany’s Rhineland (Cologne, Mainz, Düsseldorf), so much so that it’s basically impossible to get any normal work done there during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday. You either spend the week partying in costume or you flee the city — finding a middle ground seems to be very difficult (or so I’ve heard).
But the northern Germans do like themselves a good parade — the Schlager Move in Hamburg or Karneval der Kulturen in Berlin, for example — so I couldn’t resist checking out Bremen’s version of a Carnival parade. Of course it wasn’t anything like the grandiose parade in Cologne, but the Bremer don’t seem to mind. In fact, their motto is “In Bremen ist alles ein bisschen anders – auch der Karneval” (Everything is a little different in Bremen, even Carnival).
And indeed, the Bremen parade lived up to its reputation. It was full of music and costumes and drumming groups from all over Europe. Even though the weather wasn’t so great, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
My feet turned numb after the first hour and half, so I didn’t even watch the entire parade, but I was pretty impressed with the costumes that I did get to see. It’s not so clear from the photos, but quite a few of those in the parade were on stilts, which is made even more impressive by the fact that the nearly the entire parade took place on cobblestone streets! Good fun on a Saturday afternoon, and then everything basically went back to normal.
Have you ever celebrated Carnival, in Germany or in any other country? Did you love it or hate it?