The "Crazy Days" of Carnival

Beginning at the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, carnival rules the Rhineland, particularly Andernach. The town chooses local royalty (Prinz and Prinzessin) to reign during the season. Carnival clubs, mainly organized as historical military corps, prepare elaborate floats for the parades, sequined costumes and theme song composition. Songs are usually short and repetitious enough that even non-German speakers can learn them quickly after a few glasses of beer or wine.

In Andernach, carnival culminates between official proclamation of local prince and princess and Aschermittwoch (Ash Wednesday) with parties and political satire sessions (Sitzungen) being held in many pubs and the Andernach town hall by various carnival clubs. First highlight of the season is Weiberfastnacht which always falls on Thursday before Ash Wednesday when women roaming the streets, armed with scissors to cut off offending ties. In Andernach, women (Möhnen) dressed in colorful clothes march organized in a parade through the city and demonstrate power over males.

Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) is the peak of the Carnival session and is highlighted by the well-organized and spectacular Rosenmontag-parade. Usually Rosenmontag parades last around three to four hours.

A small parade usually takes place in Andernach on the Saturday before Rosenmontag and participants include groups from all parts of the society wearing fancy dresses.

Carnival protocol encourages yelling for candy, shouting "Alaaf" wearing crazy costumes, chatting up your fellow carnival merry-makers and singing carnival theme tunes.

Peter H. Ziemons