Carnival season is here. It starts officially, I think, on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) which is this next Monday, the 19th. That’s the day that the big parades happen in Cologne, Maastricht, and other cities in this region. This is the region of Germany where Carnival is celebrated the most.
Costume shops abound though most are open only seasonally. The biggest one in the area is Karnevalswierts in Heerlen, NL — that’s where you can get fabric, buttons, wigs, face paint, fake arms, bells, and a zillions other little things to go with their range of costumes from cows to genies, but there are little shops everywhere and it’s a lot of fun just to go there and look.
This is the time when you look sillier if you don’t dress up and the stranger, the better.
So, Kirk and I dressed up and went to a Carnival party at the Officer’s Club on Friday night.
Kirk went at 6 and enjoyed a full dinner with venison, steak, chicken, fish, and a lot of other food. I had to pick Tiara up from a ballet rehearsal, so I didn’t get there until 8:30 and missed all that. Still, I didn’t miss dessert and that was pretty good. Later in the night, they served a really good Hungarian goulash soup in the bar and that was a great antidote to the wine I’d been drinking.
The costumes were fun – clowns, Robin Hood, princesses, cats, an African-American German Heidi, knights, Wonder Woman, the Queen of Hearts, and other people from all centuries and places.
Entertainment never ceased, with each act almost pushed off by the next before they’d really finished. A huge group from Aachen came all in intricate costumes with the full pomp and splendour of the royal carnival groups. The band played. The prinz sang. And the others played and laughed, and acted silly. It’s really strange to see.
My favorite was Elvis. Wow. And I’m not a huge fan, but this Elvis was amazing. He’s French and actually worked with Kirk until a few months ago when he moved back to Paris. He came up though for this party and performed for us all, then left us wanting to hear more.
Anyway… it was nice to get a little glimpse of the culture here. At the end, they all switched to German, I think, thinking that the only people left were Germans. We didn’t care. We all had a great time dancing until 1am and laughing at each other. There were a lot of Germans, Italians, Americans, and Canadians there, a couple French, and a lot of Norwegians. I’m not sure what other nationalities were represented, but it was a great mix of people all enjoying themselves, talking together, and having a nice time.
We’ll definitely go next year – I’m already thinking up a costume.
Photos: 1)A nice pair of clowns – a very nice older couple I chatted with a bit. 2)A jester with the Aachen carnival singing group 3) Two friends – one, Tiara’s teacher as a 50’s girl and the other, Kirk’s coworker as Heidi. 4) One of the dance troupes 5) The husband of one friend sitting on the lap of another – playfully – just as the husband walked by and they both saw him… a totally innocent, but humorous moment