SunBird American German Club – February 2015

Trish Deflieze

The first meeting of our club for 2015 was successful. We celebrated with appetizers and desserts in the Horizon Room.

Lent comes early this year and we used some of our meeting time to discuss “Fasching,” the festival in Germany which comes just before Ash Wednesday. If you missed the meeting, here are a few facts you might find of interest:

Fasching or Carnival is one of the biggest events in the Rhineland. In the cities of Dusseldorf, Cologne and Mainz, hundreds of thousands of people turn out in cold and sometimes rainy or snowy weather to participate and watch the marching bands parade. The timeline for Carnival may start as early as January and ends on Shrove Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The biggest parade is held on Rosenmontag, the Monday before Shrove Tuesday. Rosenmontag is not an official holiday but most public offices are closed and work comes to a halt.

The event goes back to the 1700s and is made up of Carnival clubs. The clubs elect a prince and princess; there is also a court. All dress in the costume of the 1700s and parade with marching bands, singing, dancing and as fools. Clowns would be our equivalent of the fools.

Originally the event was male dominated but in 1824 women became involved. The washerwomen of the towns, happy not to work on Rosenmontag, also decided to celebrate. Tradition has it that women in black stormed the City Hall and demanded the key to the city. This allowed the women to celebrate and gave them the right to kiss any man who passed their way. Today women can (if they get the chance) cut men’s ties in half. I’m not sure why they do this; maybe they get hold of the man they want to kiss. I’ll leave you in suspense as to if the women of our club decided to give this a try.

We have started an ongoing food drive for local food banks. Please bring a donation of a non-perishable item to our next meeting. Non-food items are also welcome.

Our next meeting will be held February 24 at 6:00 p.m. in the Horizon Room. Frank will speak on a topic of German culture. Appetizers and desserts will be available.

Anyone of German descent or who is interested in German culture is welcome to visit our meetings or join our club.

Auf wiedersehen