28 February, 2009

Fasnacht am bodensee

In a quiet little German town, where tattoos, piercings, and green hair are only found in my memories of Portland, a rather unexpected event took place. Fasnacht.

...Okay, so it was totally expected, Lisa Town told me all about the insanity that is Karnival Überlingen style, as did everybody else in the weeks leading up to it. I was well prepared for the costumes, the whips, the drinking, and the party in the streets. I was warned, but somehow, still surprised. The entire town comes out for these festivities every night from the Thursday through the Monday before Ash Wednesday. It is quite the party and I certainly couldn't keep up.

The first night we headed over to Konstance to meet some fellow revelers from the office. This group is dressed up as 'The Financial Crisis'. Various puns about money sharks and scavengers in german are seen below.

I was a mermaid. Isa lent me the skirt. I already had the hair.

We took the little ferry.

And the insanity begins. What are these?

Isa, my office mate is a cowgirl. See how she is shooting me? I think she wants the fish tail skirt back.

On thursday night in Konstance everybody wears pajamas and parades through the city. This pajama party happens on Monday night in Überlingen.

We skipped Fridays festivities and went out again on Saturday. Here is the typical Fasnacht Tree in the town square.

And my costume for Saturday night. I didn't bring any costume things with me. I made 'do' with what I had.

Then I had to decide what I was. I considered saying that I was dressed up as a victorian becuase I find this pun particularly hilarious. Sadly though, not a single german had a clue what I meant by victorian. Instead I just became fancy hair. Costumes here, when refered to in English are called 'fancy dress'. My impression was that the most important thing for a costume was that it be strikingly unrealistic and terribly colorful. Oh well, I tried.

Some friends and coworkers in their unexpectedly coordinated fancy dress.

Saturday night's parade begane with a band that didn't seem to end. See the previous posting 'Sounds of Fasnacht'.

And the Hensula (totally phonetic spelling here).

From what I have been told, the tradition with the whips comes from the time of the black plague. The Hensula (these are teh guys in black with rainbow shagg elephant costumes) were the people in charge of bringing food and medical supplies to the sick. Becuase the plague was so contagious, they used the whips to keep people from mobbing them. Now days they march in parades, put on loud whip shows, and drink lots of beer. Each town's traditions are a little different from the next and I am sure that there is much more to the history and the traditions of Karnival then I was made aware of. So, note: this is just a peak into Überlingen's Farnacht cultural events.

Arabian nights was the theme of this fancy dress group.

In Überlingen the towns old cellars are opened as temporary bars.

This is Angelica's traditional Bavarian dress, a dirndl. It is not really considered Fasnacht fancy dress, but would make a great halloween costume in the states. I think I want one.

Monday night is the pajama night, but if you don't have pajamas you can apparently dress up as a steelers fan. This is my roomate Birgit.

Our office has a number of projects in Pittsburgh, funny that my old roomate in portland had this same towel. And I suspect my new cousin-in-law wouldn't mind having one himself, if he doesn't already. I am currently working on the Pittsburgh's Carnegie Science Center's Waterfront Design.

Guy in the middle with the 'Sonnenbrille' is my 'chef'. Yup, thats Herr Driesietl himself.

...only at Farsnacht.

27 February, 2009