Google Doodle today marks the celebration of Weiberfastnacht, or Women’s Carnival Day. This festival belongs to Germany and especially to Germany’s Rhineland. Certain cities that belong to the Rhineland like  Mainz, Cologne, and Düsseldorf enjoy the unofficial holiday. One traditional custom is which is to cut the man’s ties and enter the town halls. This day started in the 19th century. In a small town called Beuel.

 

 

Weiberfastnacht

A group of washerwomen went very tired as they worked for 16 hours altogether. Meanwhile, all the men got out and were in the celebration of Carnival. In the year 1824, they all joined and formed the Beuel Ladies’ Committee and reached the city hall vigourously. This was one of the earliest expression of Germany. This legacy is all filled in the Rhine River. The celebrations begin exactly at 11:11 am. Parades will move through the streets along with Schlager music as everyone enjoys food, drinks, and fun. Women also dress in vibrant and eclectic costumes. Read more on the Google Doodle page.

Weiberfastnacht – Customs:

Weiberfastnacht celebrations take place on a Thursday before Ash Wednesday. As stated before, Weiberfastnacht is an unofficial holiday in the Rhineland. In addition, it is also the official beginning of the Street Festival part of Karneval. At 11:11 am, most businesses close, and people take to the streets in costume, when the parade starts. Weiberfastnacht also was known as “unsinniger Donnerstag” (silly Thursday) or “schmutzigen Donnerstag” (dirty Thursday…. in this case, the “dirty” refers to sin) falls on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, and is the last week of “fun” before the austerity of Lent Season. See also: The Lunar New Year

Women dress up funnily and go around to attack men by cutting their tie. One play is that they cut the ugly tie. So, don’t wear a (costly) tie on Weiberfastnacht. In Cologne, Silliness Is Serious Business. The participants of the Carnival are called “Jecken.  Three Rulers Preside Over the Mad People. The Rosenmontagszug is Germany’s Biggest Carnival Parade. 300 tons of “Kamelle” thrown each year. During the Rosenmontagszug, every year 300 tons of Kamelle are thrown to the delight of children and other sugar-fiends. Kamelle can be anything from candy, paper flowers to animals, but mostly it’s just glorious glucose in all shapes and forms. Serious Jecken has developed various strategies to catch as much flying candy as they can, using anything from their bare hands to umbrellas.

Weiberfastnacht –  Associated Festivals:

Council of Eleven Carnival Planning: The Cologne Carnival centers on the old part of town known as Altstadt and considered one of the largest festivals celebrated in Europe. The Altstadt area turns into a dazzling festival area where visitors will see throngs of spectators singing, dancing, and decked out in brilliantly colored fancy dress costumes throughout Cologne. Finally, bars and pubs join in the celebration providing plenty of Kolsch-style beer, a local light beer of the region.

Rose Monday (Rosenmontag): Rosenmontag is characterized by a free-for-all atmosphere in which the normal rules of behavior are relaxed. It is not uncommon, for example, for people to go up to strangers on the street and kiss them. See also: The Thanksgiving Day

Ash Wednesday: Ash Wednesday (Aschermittwoch) Ash Wednesday is mainly a Catholic observance in which ashes marked on the forehead of parishioners in the shape of a cross.  The ashes serve as a reminder of our mortality and sinfulness. It marks the beginning of Lent, a 40 day period that ends with Easter.  This is a solemn period where there are prayer, repentance, fasting, and moderation. Sundays excluded as they consider a celebratory day. It represents the resurrection of Jesus and the Sabbath day of rest.

Happy Weiberfastnacht 2019!

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