8 March 2011
If you do not live in an area that celebrates carnival the whole idea can be a bit daunting to go out dressed in some costume or other which makes one look like an absolute idiot, but then that is the whole idea. My partner Hanna comes from a carnival town and for the 22 years I have known her I have been infected with the carnival virus. The main event is always the procession which in the majority of German towns is on the Monday before Ash Wednesday. In my town, Mönchengladbach, the procession takes place on Shrove Tuesday. Today the sun shone and it encouraged everyone out on the streets. Some 350,000 were expected and since we only have a population of approx 250,000 a lot of visitors were expected. The theme of this years carnival was "Carnival keeps you fit". I don't think it explains the costumes at all, but then the object is to have fun before the serious business of fasting for Lent, something we Christians have given up on. Here then are a few photos of the idiots to be found on the streets of my town today.