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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Germany Series at GermanPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind German holidays and observances. I’m Matt, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 14 - Rose Monday.
In this lesson, we will discuss how people celebrate Carnival in Germany. It starts at 11:00 a.m. every year on November 11th. The culmination of the Carnival, the Rose Monday or “Rosenmontag”, is a feast that takes place forty-eight days before Easter Sunday. Since the carnival lasts several months, it is also referred to as the fifth season of the year. The carnival actually begins in November. In many carnival strongholds, it's common practice that on November 11, the jesters, called “Narren”, storm the town halls at 11:11 am and symbolically occupy the city administration. Subsequently, the mayor gives them the key to the town hall door.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
Where in Germany does the largest carnival parade take place every year?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening!
Rose Monday and Mardi Gras, known as “Faschingsdienstag”, are the highlight of Carnival. Rose Monday parades take place in many cities. In an atmosphere of fun and cheer, many people in traditional costumes welcome the 5th Season with sparkling wine and streamers. Carnival parties are very popular in Germany. Many people watch the hustle and bustle of the Rose Monday parades, known as “Rosenmontagszug”, which consist of individually adorned and colorfully decorated floats of the carnival clubs. The costumed and dancing people on the floats ensure a great atmosphere and throw candies into the crowd.
The decorated carnival floats humorously and sarcastically draw people’s attention, with posters and effigies of famous politicians, towards the recent political events in Germany. In the carnival revues, some of which are shown on TV, guests can expect a colorful evening program with a satirical review of the year gone by. In the speeches, domestic politicians are typically the central objects of such satire. The dance performances are delivered by the Garde dance troupes.
In the Middle Ages, people slaughtered animals on the Thursday before the end of the carnival. This means that there is a tradition of preparing particularly fatty meals, or of using the fat for frying, so that the food does not spoil. As it was previously forbidden to have fatty food during Lent, people used to eat fried dishes before Ash Wednesday. Typical carnival cookies vary by region and include Mutzenmandeln, Berliner, donuts, pancakes, fritters, or carnival Kräppel. Also savory dishes such as potato salad, braised beef, goulash soup, or pickled herring are very famous among carnival-goers.
On the Thursday before Rose Monday, during the so-called Women's Carnival or “Weiberfastnacht” in Germany, it is common particularly in the Cologne area for women to cut men’s ties. Sometimes, however, they make up for it with a kiss. This custom is said to have emerged after 1945.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Where in Germany does the largest carnival parade take place every year?
The largest carnival parade takes place in Cologne. The parade has more than ten thousand participants with more than one hundred cars. More than one million spectators watch this carnival parade, which can strech several miles long.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson?
Did you learn anything interesting?
How do you celebrate Carnival in your country?
Leave a comment telling us at
GermanPod101.com. Until next time!