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February 17, 2007

The Fifth Season

It's the end of the Carnival Season again which always ends with big parades in the strongholds Mainz, Köln,
Düsseldorf along the Rhine and countless smaller ones in the towns around. One should not forget Aachen, though, which also indulges in Carnival festivities being a very catholic area. One of the biggest parades will take place in Mainz on Rose Monday, starting at 11.11 a.m. and taking several hours. The first paraders will have finished the course before the last ones have started. It is always great fun to watch as people work all year to make this event work. They build wagons on which themes from politics or local events are on display. Or just costumed people from one of the countless Carnival Clubs of the area. Watching the Guards marching is another highlight of each parade.

This year spectators and parader are in luck: we now have a spot of warm, springlike weather with a clear blue, sunshine and temperatures well above zero. During the last years they often had to walk through a light snowfall. Which is not much fun and ruins your costumes on top of it.

Children love these parades because tons of sweets are thrown from the wagons for them to collect. You'd think they never have sweets for the rest of the year - but it is of course much more fun picking them up than just go into a supermarket and buy them.

In the middle ages Carnival festivities and parades were the opportunity for the simple folk to tell their rulers what they thought of them without being taken up for it. This is still a good tradition. As almost every year Mausi has watched the joint TV programme by the Mainz Carnival Clubs. It is a broadcast from the Big Hall inside the Castle in Mainz with speakers and music and dancers' groups. Tickets are always sold out well in advance. Some of the speakers were really good. But during the last year our politicians provided them with a lot of ammunition: the reform of our National Health System which is not that much of a reform at all, various politicians making fools of themselves and not recognising it and the most hilarious incident of all: Wiesbaden is going to elect a new Mayor in March and the Social Democrats missed the deadline and forgot to register their candidate and having put a lot of effort and money into his campaign. Of course, none of the other parties dropped a hint and now the election will
take place without a candidate from the Social Democrats. How stupid can you be? With Wiesbaden just on the opposite side of the Rhine from Mainz this was running gag all evening. But I must admit that the said candidate of the Social Democrats is a real plucky man - he was present in the audience and took all jokes at his expense with a smile. And there were many!

The best thing about it all is that Mausi was given a holiday on Rose Monday by her employer. It sometimes pays iving close to Mainz. People in the protestant parts of Germany are not that lucky.

Posted by Mausi at February 17, 2007 10:08 AM

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