Shrove Tuesday, Alemannia Style   Published on 2/16/10 6:30 AM     

This is the most important day of the year in the little town, and I hadn't had the foresight to check the status of the camera batteries!! So, when at 11:15 am sharp a second storey window at the Hotel "Moor" opened and the town crier appeared to announce the impending event I had no way of documenting this and the following memorable images.
It's carnival, you see, and it's taken darn seriously here in Southern Germany. Large parts of the population take an active part in both the preparations that had started 3 months earlier, and in the series of events at actual carnival time.
Here, it's called "Fasnet", centuries old traditions in part, with a distinct local flavor particular to each and every town and hamlet.
For weeks already there had been parades, costume balls and parties on every weekend leading up to the six crazy days of Fasnet/Fastnacht/Fasching/Karneval. The name of this so-called fifth season changes with the region, whereby only the predominantly catholic parts of Germany celebrate it. There are no comparable festivities in, say, Hamburg or Leipzig.
Back at the medieval market square, meanwhile, the women come marching by single file from their early morning Shrove Tuesday gathering at a pub some ways away from the men's. All are clad in white linen lace nighties with matching white bonnets, all are singing, waving and weaving their way through the substantial crowd gathered in front of the "Moor" and all around the market square. Many of the onlookers are dressed in costume themselves, most have donned at least a funny hat, a mask or wig.
Presently, the town crier gesticulates from atop the 10-meter wooden slide attached to the window, and at the bottom the town pages get ready to receive what will be coming down. The brass band starts playing and the crowd erupts in anticipatory laughter and shouting, chanting the "official" Fasnet battle cry: Gole, Gole (pronounced go-ley, go-ley).
Soon the town crier steps away from the window and the first costumed figure comes sliding down accompanied by cheers and whistles from the crowd. The town's menfolk had been drinking and eating inside the hotel while the women had nailed the doors shut. Hence this dramatic exit.
For the next little while the men, all 320 of them dressed up in historical or plain old fun costume and all in various stages of intoxication, make their way down the slide more or less gracefully: some on their bellies, most on their behinds with hands and legs up in the air. Some actually attempt to slide down upright on their feet, others come tumbling down in bunches. Particular stunts on the way down the crowd acknowledges with more applause to the tune of more frenzied fanfare from the band.
After the last one of the formerly jailed menfolk joins the polonaise round the market square the crowd disperses for some solid or, more likely, liquid fortification to bridge the time before the next event a couple of hours later.
I for one head home to change camera batteries. The afternoon parade must not go undocumented....

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Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
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Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
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Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
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Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
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Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
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Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
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Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
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Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
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Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
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Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
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Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
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Sed pede ullamcorper amet ullamcorper primis, nam pretium suspendisse neque, a phasellus sit pulvinar vel integer.
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