Street parades, celebrations mark Germany’s ‘fifth’ season

Neuhausen Parade

Members of the “Gräbler” Fasching Society Neuhausen participate in last year’s parade in downtown Neuhausen. Every year, some 5,000 fools from all over Germany participate in the parade, which is known as the largest Fasching parade in the greater Stuttgart area. This year`s event will be held March 2 at 1:33 p.m.

Story & photos by Carola Meusel
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

There are five seasons in Germany: spring, summer, fall, winter and Fasching (carnival).
Fasching or “Fastnacht” originates in the word “fasting” and marks the week leading up to Ash Wednesday, where the 40-day Lent before Easter begins.

For many Germans, Fasching represents the most cheerful time of the year. It’s a time when citizens “let off steam,” and live it up before Lent.

This year, Fasching will be celebrated from Feb. 27 to March 4 with fests, parades, music and many “foolish” events.

While the carnival season officially begins Nov. 11 at 11:11 a.m., the main events and parades peak during the traditional Fasching week, starting on “Schmotziger Donnerstag” (Greasy Thursday) or “Weiberfasching,” women’s carnival. The Swabian word “schmotzig” means lard or grease and refers to the opulent food eaten during Fasching, such as “Fasnetsküchle” (Fasching doughnuts).

The remainder of the Fasching week is Fasching Saturday and Sunday, Rose Monday and Fat Tuesday.
In the evening of Fat Tuesday, the “Fastnacht,” represented as a witch in southern Germany, is buried in a casket and the wild days end at midnight.

Hexe Hofen

A witch poses during last year’s “Fasching” parade in Hofen. This year, the parade will be held March 4 at 1 p.m. During the various Fasching parades, “Narren,” or Fasching fools with wooden masks in the image of witches, devils and grotesque animals can be seen in many towns.

This year’s Greasy Thursday, or women’s carnival, will be celebrated Feb. 27.
Here in Stuttgart, Bad Cannstatt’s “Kübelesmarkt” Fasching association will kick off the area’s first Fasching event by setting up the “Narrenbaum,” or fool’s pole, at 6:30 p.m. at the Markt-platz, followed by a parade starting at 7 p.m. downtown.Neuhausen, just 15 kilometers outside Stuttgart, is one of the most popular Fasching metropolises in the area. The town celebrates Greasy Thursday with the “Hexentanz,” or witch’s dance Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at Schlossplatz (Schlossplatz, 73765 Neuhausen auf den Fildern).
During the event, Neuhausen’s Fasching fools storm the town hall and force the mayor to hand over the keys of the city administration. In order to celebrate this symbolic event, a huge fire is lit.

During the various Fasching parades in southern Germany, “Narren,” or Fasching fools with wooden masks in the image of witches, devils and grotesque animals can be seen in many towns. Be on the lookout for Narren walking up to you to either ruffle your hair or drop you a piece of candy.

This year, most street parades will begin March 2.

Fasching parades
• Wernau: March 1, 2 p.m.
• Murrhardt: Night parade March 1,
7 p.m.
• Böblingen: March 3, 1 p.m.
• Rottenburg am Neckar: March 2,
1:30 p.m.
• Neuhausen: March 2, 1:33 p.m.
• Weil der Stadt: March 2, 2 p.m.
• Rottweil: “Narrensprung” (fool’s jump) March 3 at 8 a.m. and March 4
at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Stuttgart: March 4, 2 p.m.
• Hofen: March 4, 1 p.m.

Fasching events
• Neuhausen: Restaurant Saalbau: “Schmotziger Donnerstag” with the party band “Talisman” Feb. 27, 8 p.m.
• Neuhausen: Restaurant Saalbau: Faschings Party “Red Chucks” and “Guggenmusik” (carnival music), March 1, 7 p.m.
• Neuhausen: Restaurant Saalbau: Rose Monday Ball, March 3, 7 p.m. Tickets for the events cost between €12 and €10 and can be purchased by calling civ. 07158-948194. Restaurant Saalbau is located at Kirchstrasse 4, 73765 Neuhausen auf den Fildern
• Bad Cannstatt: “Närrischer Wochenmarkt” (weekly market with Fasching entertainment, music), Feb. 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Marktplatz
• Bad Cannstatt: “Kübelesrennen” (Fasching marathon with “fools” of the “Kübelesmarkt” Fasching association), Feb. 27, 7 p.m. at Marktplatz. On Feb. 27 (“Schmotziger Donnerstag”), various restaurants and bars downtown Bad Cannstatt offer music and Fasching parties (all night long).
• Stuttgart: Rose Monday party, March 3, 7 p.m. at “Mash” (restaurant, bar, club) at Bosch Areal (Forststrasse 7, 70174 Stuttgart)
• Stuttgart: Rose Monday party, March 3, 2 p.m. at Calwer Eck Restaurant and Brewery (Calwer Str. 31, 70173 Stuttgart)
• Stuttgart: “Monster-Guggen-Konzert” (concert), March 3, 6 p.m. at Marktplatz
• Stuttgart: “Faschingsparty,” or fool’s party, March 4, 3:30 p.m. at the Dinkelacker Schwabenbräu Brewery, Hohenstaufenstrasse entry, 70178 Stuttgart)