To be very straight with you, neither me or Lee had any clue about German car-na-val (I think that’s how it’s pounced.)
We wrote to our hosts and requested a three day stay in Zornhiem. Which is about half an hour from Mainz in Germany, they wrote back and explained about car-na-val. They asked if we were able to Stay with them for three more nights, so they could take us to the local celebrations across their city and surrounding areas. We obviously jumped at the chance to experience local traditions and celebrations.
On our arrival, our host explained to us the celebration was always a week before lent, and not only celebrated locally, but it was a very important national festival across Germany too.
So our first car-na-val experience was of us getting dressed up as giant fluffy green frogs, and going into what I can only describe as a street party vibe with parades of local clubs and company’s (all dressed up also) walking drown the streets of a local nearby town. The vibe was awesome, and as the clubs just walking passed they threw sweet treats, popcorn, crisps and all manner of other things towards the children in the crowd. Our host has a little boy, who got a what must have been a month’s worth or not more of treats. Lol
It was awesome, the music, everybody greeting everybody, everyone dressed up, seeing the parade was awesome and this was one of the smaller celebrations compared to the bigger ones to come.
Our next experience of car-na-val was the very same day but in the evening. We went to a very different type of street parade. This had the same premise of the more family orientated parade from earlier, but there was more of a concentration on handmade floats with fantastic lighting displays, oh and of course the loudest heavy based music possible. It was definitely an even bigger party and a lot more drinking. You could see the large amount time and huge effort that had been put into their car-na-val display. Sweets, wine and allsorts were handed out to the crowd. As you can see from the pictures, it was awesome, and definitely nothing we had ever experienced before.
The celebrations don’t only happen on the streets of Germany, but on the TV too. We watched a show with the local mayor, various high society figures being entertained by comedians and German singers. Although we obviously didn’t understand a word that was being said, it was mentioned that it really was a bit of a cheeky mickey taking out of the people there. The best bit thou was every time they stopped the music, our host’s toddler said “music” and consistently got concerned every time it went away. Awww, but then when it did come back he would bust into dance again. It was the cutest thing ever.
Our last car-na-val experience was supposed to be the big Mainz celebration in the centre of town, but as the week progressed the weather worsened. We kept our fingers crossed, but the final decision wasn’t made until the night before and alas it was sadly cancelled. The first time anybody had ever heard of it being cancelled, but unfortunately, due to the super high winds and torrential rain forecast, it was cancelled in its entirety. It was sad, and obviously, one of the reasons for staying with our hosts longer but we certainly enjoyed the celebrations we could attend.
Ooooooo one thing I forgot, around car-na-val time it is customary to eat Krebble, this is similar to a doughnut with jam inside but it a lot lighter, and oh so very delicious for breakfast. We naturally had to partake a few times just to get us on the car-na-val spirit.
We’re very thankful to our host for introducing us to this wonderful German tradition.