Stuttgart HELAU – Karneval (or Fasching or Fasnet)

....and the best thing about it – on Weiberfastnacht you can officially cut off* the your husbands/boyfriends/colleagues (dreaded) necktie....
(*just make sure they somehow agree so you do not get into legal trouble.)

....and the kids love it, as they can collect many sweets & wear their special fancy dress.

 ...and I love it, as this is the time to eat BERLINER or KRAPFEN.

Here is more about Karneval/Fasching from me – a Nordlicht (a Nordern light - coming from Northern Germany and also a little clueless and fascinated by this German tradition)

If you're in Stuttgart, Mainz, Cologne, Düsseldorf (and more)  during the Karneval season, you will know.
Best to know a little before the whole 5th season,as Germans also call it, starts.
Many streets come to life with colorful parades (the bigger ones with floats), loud music, crazy (in a good way) people in fancy dress and celebrations.
During the parades sweets are thrown from floats and also from windows.
And for the children there are many Fasching parties to dress up and have fun, too.

So what is this all about?

In short: festivities pre-lent celebrated in the predominately Catholic regions of Germany.

Historically, the purpose of Karneval was to live it up before the start of Lent and its 40 days of sacrifice. In old times people refrained from drinking alcohol or eating meat, milk products and eggs. Nowadays you can fast on anything you choose. My kids (and I) try to fast sweets (well at least reduce them).

In pre-Christian times, Karneval celebrations symbolized the end of winter, driving out all of its evil spirits. People wear scary masks, to "scare" away these spirits. The Karneval in Southern Germany often reflects these traditions.

In the Rhineland we find another tradition. Out of protest against French oppression after the revolution, Germans from Cologne and surrounding areas would mock their politicians and leaders safely behind masks during Karneval. Even today, caricatures of politicians and other personalities can be seen boldly portrayed on floats in the parades or mocked about in the so called Büttenrede (which you can see on German TV a lot during the Fasching Season). The Büttenrede is a Karneval tradition of humorous, rhyming speeches. It began in Cologne and is very famous the area of Mainz as well. 

The actual DAYS

Offical begin in most regions is on Nov. 11 at 11:11 a.m. or the day afterHeilige Drei Könige(Epiphany) - Jan. 7. If you are really into it, it is worth going to Cologne on Nov. 11th. But this is just a pre-celebration – until the real one starts.The days of the big celebrations vary each year depending on Easter. The Faschings week, is the week before Ash Wednesday and starts with the Thursday before.

Weiberfastnacht / Schmutziger Donnerstag (old womens fasching / dirty Thursday) – Thursday before.
The necktie-cutting is a symbolic way of putting men into place – women often dress up as witches and give out a lot of kisses (again make sure the other party agrees…) The day usually ends up in a bar celebrating.

There will be lots of different parties and parades on the weekend to follow.

Rosenmontag (Rose Monday)
The day the largest and most popular Carnival parades take place.

Fastnachtsdienstag / Faschingsdienstag (Shrove Tuesday)
Highlight of the celebrating with parades and parties.
In Stuttgart there is a big 14:00 - 17:00 Fasnetsumzug downtown starting at the Wilhelmsbau from 2 pm to 5 pm (usually...) 

Aschermittwoch (Ash Wednesday) – time to recuperate and start lent.

Practical Information:

Costumes and where to get them from
Müller is really good for children and quite cheap.

You can be anything you want (military is not common though). This year apparently Flamingos are quite trendy as is the 80ties style with big glasses, moustaces, wigs..., the 60ties and food/sweets.


Around the time of Fasching you can see a variety of seasonal baked goods in the bakeries.
They are called Krapfen or Berliner. You can find them without filling, the traditional ones with a filling of strawberry or raspberry jam or fillings of custard, chocolate, egg nog ....
Basicalls they are the German answer to Donuts.

Where to celebrate and party?

You can find information in the local papers, in Stuttgart in the Luftballon (Elternzeitung) and maybe check with your Kindergarten.

More also here: to Veranstaltungen)
Facebook: Fest-Komitee Stuttgarter Karneval e.V.


February 2022 by Kira Neumann
This post has been prepared with the greatest possible care and does not claim to be correct, complete or up-to-date.“
Pictures courtesy of Pixabay; xwolfde & geralt

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Berliner - German Karneval

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