Having lived in Germany for over 24 years now, some things that were odd to me when I first arrived seem so normal to me now. For instance, Karneval. There’s no such thing in my country, so seeing people in crazy costumes, singing and dancing in the street, hugging, kissing strangers and throwing confetti and shouting “Hellau” was strange and err, a bit shocking to me. The term Karneval is from the Latin “carrus navalis” – meaning, the ship of fools. This season is a time of wild fancy dresses, parties and costume balls which are open to the public. Karneval reaches its climax in big street processions with elaborately decorated floats, usually on Rosenmontag. The season actually begins on November 11 at 11:11 pm and ends on Ash Wednesday. Something about all those elevens being lucky or perhaps something about them relating to foolishness, I am not certain. Karneval is a very old tradition in Germany and remained alive and let me add…wilder than ever.
Let us talk about something not really very German. Namely, Halloween. Few years ago, there was no sign of Halloween in Germany. Now, the trend is spreading and it is getting more popular over here. Traditionally, we don’t celebrate it here but some clever business people imported this idea from the USA. It’s a slow spread, but maybe Halloween will be more popular in few more years. It’s a fun time for kids though, they enjoy putting on costumes, and going door-to-door to get sweets. There are also some Halloween parties organized by some groups (Verein) or discos where people wear wild Halloween Costumes. I said wild because there are several people, mostly women who are so daring to wear odd costumes that expose excessive amounts of skin. Like the one I saw on TV, that particular costume was a Sailor Girl Pin Up inspired costume. Which consist of faux sequin crop top, fringe boy shorts with tie sides and garters, sailor hat, riding crop, stockings and boots.
Call me a prude, call me conservative, but this has nothing to do with Halloween anymore. It is in fact just another excuse for some German adults to go wild again.