Karneval is celebrated in German-speaking parts of Europe as a Mardi Gras-style festival hallmarked by costumes, parades and lots of partying. It is considered by most who celebrate it to be an actual season, which starts on Nov. 11 at 11:11 p.m. and continues until Ash Wednesday. Many Germans call this important time of year the “fifth season.”
The theme of Karneval varies depending on region. There are two best-known versions of the event. The Cologne Karneval, in honor of an 1824 women’s revolt, encompasses a tradition of modern-day women storming city halls and cutting the neck-ties of any man they choose. In more southern parts of Germany, Karneval represents the elimination of dark winter spirits and the welcoming of warmer, spring-like weather.
Our very own German language department hosted a Rollins version of Karneval on Thursday, Feb. 16 in Strong Hall. Authentic German currywurst was grilled outside as students dressed in various Karneval-worthy costumes and socialized in both the English and German languages. A variety of other themed foods and beverages were served, but the crowd favorite seemed to be the German chocolates that came in an assortment of flavors.
“It was nice to come together outside of the classroom in a fun setting like Karneval,” German language student Taylor Cole said. “It is not every day that we get to learn more about the German culture by dressing up in fun costumes and eating delicious food. The salad was great and so was the happy atmosphere. It was a terrific event.”
Students were not the only ones who enjoyed Karneval: German language professors partook in the festivities as well. Lecturer Anna Lohaus was thrilled with the excellent turnout at the event. “There were about 30 participants — most in costume — in Strong to celebrate Weiberfastnacht,” she said. “Participants included German language students, former residents of Strong Hall, honor students studying the Weimar Republic, and students from the German field study this past December. Jeff Guyan volunteered again as ‘Grillmeister’ and grilled the Bratwurst to perfection. Students reminisced about living in Strong, about traveling to Germany and about hours of Kaffeeklatsch and puppet theater.”