The Germans celebrate Mardi Gras, but depending on the region, the Germans have two different names for it: Karneval and Fasching. Germans around the Cologne area say Karneval, whereas people from around Munich call it Fasching. I learned in school that Southern Germans say Fasching and Northerners say Karneval, but from my experiences in Munich and this year, one cannot easily make such a simple distinction.
(A children’s parade in Mainz.)
I visited a good friend of mine, E, in Mainz during the Mardi Gras weekend. Although I didn’t stay long enough for the main partying day (Rosenmontag), the weekend leading up to the party was still filled with festivities. We went to the children’s parade that took place right outside of E’s apartment, and even grocery-shopped in our costumes. The entire city was clothed in confetti, beer bottles, posters of political candidates strewn on the streets and people in all sorts of costumes (some of which were very non-politically correct).
My favorite part of the trip was actually the BASF visitor center. BASF is a chemical company based in Ludwigshafen (a good friend of mine, F, is from Ludwigshafen!). J, another Fulbrighter, is an ETA in Ludwigshafen and knew that I had wanted to visit BASF for a while now because my siblings made these hilarious postcards when they visited our good friend, F. I was unfortunately not there due to my finals when I was in Munich at that time.
The tour was not only great (I would strongly recommend going to the visitor’s center to anyone in the area) but I got to make my own postcard! I know it’s silly, but I’ll post it anyway to make up for me not posting in the last month.
By the way: I was a baseball player for Karneval/Fasching. It was the cheapest and as you can imagine, a very unique costume compared to many others in Mainz.