Wednesday 11 March 2015

Munich: Faschingssonntag / Carnival Sunday

‘Fasching’ is the Munich version of carnival season. Officially the ‘season’ starts on 11 November at 11.11am, when I went to a ‘kick-off’ party at one of Munich’s clubs (Gecko).

Most of the Munich activity takes place in the week leading up to the start of Lent.
  • Thursday before Ash Wednesday is “Weiberfastnacht” (women’s carnival night): on this day women are allowed to cut off the tie of any man around – and also kiss any man they like!
  • Faschingssontag: the first of the final ‘crazy days’
  • Rosenmontag (Rose Monday): usually lots of street processions with costumes and floats
  • Faschingsdienstag (Carnival Tuesday): the last day of fasching and when most of the festivities happen – a lot of companies give their staff this afternoon off to enjoy the celebrations
The biggest celebrations in Germany happen in Colonge, but I suspect are nothing compared to Rio de Janeiro or New Orlean’s Mardi Gras.

Munich hosts a lot of balls during the season – usually more than 800! Most of them are fancy dress or classic gala dinner style. One of the biggest is “Ball der damischen Ritter” (ball of the crazy knights)

Last year I visited Munich’s Viktualienmarkt for Carnival Tuesday when the pedestrian area is transformed into a party area from 11am with the dance of the women.

This year I headed down to Marienplatz on the Sunday to see what was happening in the city.

Normally Sunday’s are dead in Munich - everything is closed (excepts cafes and churches!), but this time the old town centre was a hive of activity.

There were food and drink stalls lining the streets and people everyone.

We were suitably attired to join in with the revelry!

And had some drinks to keep us warm in the freezing temperatures…

Followed by some more.

We also treated ourselves to a Fasching doughnut (“krapfen”). Doughnuts are everywhere during this time and come in a wide variety of flavours and fillings.

The history of the doughnuts is that in pre-Christian times the “sacred king” of the tribe was chosen for a year. When his year was complete he would be sacrificed and his blood put into the soil to ensure a successful harvest. The way the “sacred king” was chosen was the King’s Cake. A coin/bean was baked into a cake and whoever got the slice with the coin/bean in was the chosen one. It’s evolved a little bit…!

We danced and sang along to the various performers of the afternoon, turning Marienplatz into an open air party zone.

And made lots of random friends along the way.

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