Fasching – the Carnival Season

When I was five and my brother was three, we lived in Germany. In the spring, they have their Carnival time in connection with Lent (which, I think is during the 40 days before Easter). We wanted to take part in the fun of the local customs.  When we heard there was to be a dress-up parade, my brother and I wanted to be in it.

My mother was concerned that we were too young, but she said if my older cousin, Brigitte, would look after us and we promised to stay by her side, then we could be in the parade. I don’t remember what my brother was supposed to be – maybe  a messenger, as he had something in his hand, but I was going to be a Dutch Boy (incidentally, now a famous pickled herring brand). I put on blue pants and I had a blue hat. My mother added her trademark makeup to our faces. Every “dress-up” occasion called for red lipstick hearts being drawn onto our cheeks. I think she was the original face painter.

 

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We held hands to look after each other. I took Brigitte’s hand and, as always, I took my brother’s hand. We felt very important as we walked through the streets of town along with the rest of the citizens who were also dressed up. Brigitte’s outfit needs some explaining because of the black and white photo. Her dress and cape were bright red with big white polka dots on them. She was dressed up as a fly agaric (amanita) mushroom.

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It looks like my mom reclaimed my brother after a while. He was only three and probably got tired, but I was quite happy to continue, with Brigitte lending me courage.

Fasching - Brigitte und Anneli

34 thoughts on “Fasching – the Carnival Season

  1. Anneli, the fact you have photographs is quite an exciting part of this post. So many times my parents didn’t capture these kind of events. Lovely costumes, Dutch Girl, Messenger Boy and Mushroom Cousin. (Do you think she got the idea from the “Alice In Wonderland” book?) I loved this post and studied the photos here. ♡♡

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    • So true. I especially remember the colours of the outfit. It was one of the occasions that was very special at the time. We didn’t have a lot of treats and I think that’s why times like this stayed with me for all these years.

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  2. Love this post, Anneli, it’s brought back so many happy memories. My early childhood was also spent in Germany with Mum and Oma and all it’s lovely German traditions, including Easter egg hunts which were unheard of in England when we came here, as were advent calenders at Christmas. Thanks for sharing.

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    • I’m so glad it took you back to some early childhood memories, Kit. They are wonderful treasures that enrich our lives. This is why I think it’s important for cultures to hang onto their traditions. When we go to our new countries, we assimilate and become good citizens of that country, but we have fond memories of home and there’s no harm in that. Comfort in knowing where we come from. Comfort in knowing where we are now. Comfort in sharing the good things we’ve grown up with.

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  3. OMG, that is so adorable! Those photos are priceless! I wonder if they still have that same tradition. How long did you live in Germany? I remember you sharing photos from Dawson (?) as a child, too. So fun to see this.

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    • Yes, they do continue the tradition but it’s probably way more fancy and fun now. My family came to Canada the next year after these pics were taken. I was just starting grade one. We were in Dawson Creek for the first ten years, and after freezing our buns off we moved to Vancouver Island. The difference in climate was like moving to Hawaii.

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  4. Love the knickers Anneli. Were those the rubber boots with metal clasps on the side ? Gators ..I think we called them at home.
    Lovely that you have so many sweet photos of you and your siblings .

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    • I don’t know what kind of boots they were, Dawn. I know we had those rubber boots with the clasps when we came to Canada but back in Germany, I don’t know. I’m happy to have a few photos from the old days. They’re treasures now.

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  5. Love the old photo, the costumes, the face paint, the tradition…however, I loved looking at the old bricks so evocative of many of America’s oldest cities. Of course it goes without saying that you all are super cute.

    I am Catholic and practice Lent. I will be in New Orleans right after all the parades and crowds. I hear it is no longer safe.

    Thanks for sharing this photo.

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  6. I’m not surprised to hear you say it’s not safe at these events anymore. The world has changed so much and not always in a good way. Just be aware of your surroundings and with any luck you’ll be all right.The plaster (or cobblestone) streets were all through the town in those days before asphalt was developed. I remember looking out our window one day and watching a road repair crew as they took out one of the stones in the middle of the street, and replaced it with another. I was really surprised at how deep the rock was and how it was squared off. I guess, being only 5 or 6, I thought the rock was flat and not deep at all. I liked the look of the cobblestone roads.

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