No I am not going to write a post about the mystic date today.
In German it is called “Schnapszahl” – although the reference to an alcoholically beverage is included in that name “Schnaps” = booze – I know that the correct English term is repdigit.
People are fascinated by repdigits. Many try to marry at this date or even plan to give birth to a baby.
In German culture the 11th day of the 11th month of the year is special.
It is even more special at the 11th minute of the 11 hour at this very day.
11.11.11 at 11:11
It happens again – carnival – the 5th season of the year.
Berlin people are somewhat unable to cope with this.
Most of them usually ran around and tell you: “If you want to be funny, you can be that all year long.”
Yes! But being funny and carnival is something different.
Berlin tries its best.
They sell pancakes – which are called “Berliner” or “Berlin Balls” in the rest of the country.
Pancakes can be compared to donuts, filled donuts.
I love them. Those I have bought today – yes it is a day with a sugar shock – are filled with egg nog, chocolate pudding, vanilla cream with cherries and with jam.
They are also sold with champagne filling, or liquor fillings, plum puree, nougat and many many more fillings.
You can buy them with these different fillings today, on New Years eve and on Rose Monday.
The standard jam and plum variation is available any time a year.
So Berlin and carnival means pancakes.
But carnival is so much more.
I was born in the Sauerland which is close to the Ruhr dictrict and also close to Cologne and Düsseldorf – two of the carnival centers in Germany.
There are different terms for Carnival in German: Karneval, Fastnacht, Fasching.
The Term “Karneval” is of Latin origin and means “Carne levare” = taking away the meat. Some say: “Carne vale” which can be translated with “bye bye meat”, as it marked the end of the good life and the beginning of Lent 40 days ahead of Easter.
Carnival has a long tradition in Catholic regions.
Even in times where people were not supposed to speak their mind, while celebrating carnival they enjoyed so called “Narrenfreiheit”, they had a kind of Carnival’s license. Tell the church, tell the sovereign what you think and don’t go directly to jail.
The actual season with lots of parties, dressing up and parades will start the week before lent with “Weiberfastnacht” – Women’s Carnival Day and ends with Ash-Wednesday.
There are also special greetings:
in Cologne people say Alaaf,
in Düsseldorf and also in Sauerland they say Helau.
Helau is the most common greeting.
You see the greeting depends on the region you are living or celebrating in.
- Narri – Narro in Black Forest
- Ho Narro in Constance
- Hajo! in Heidelberg
- Hei-Jo in Berlin (this is not natural grown, it is a short form of the terms “Heitereit” (cheefulness) and “Joku” (fun))
Each region has its own greeting.
A carnival song:
Viva Colonia – wir lieben das Leben, die Liebe und die Lust, wir glauben an den lieben Gott und haben auch immer Durst
Viva Colonia/Live Cologne – we love life, love and lust, we believe in God and we are always thirsty