A Travellerspoint blog

February 2017

Karlsruhe: Big City Woes

IMG_37894.jpg


Carnival in protestant Karlsruhe doesn't have an original tradition. Today's carnival consists of imported Rheinland style carnival clubs, and some guilds from the Catholic villages south of the Alb who do Alemannic Fastnacht. The result is a mix which isn't really convincing. Two big parades take place in the city during carnival: one in Durlach on Sunday and one in Karlsruhe Centre on Tuesday.

The main carnival parade takes place on carnival Tuesday afternoon from 2 p.m. and runs through Marktplatz, Kaiserstraße and Karlstraße. Since no barriers keep the crowds out, the huge carriages get stuck every couple of metres, and the parade takes AGES. Some decorated carriages show inspiration, very few are actually funny, most are just trucks with painted canvas cover On the trucks you see guys in jester caps and girls in guard uniforms, dressed in the respective club's colours according to Rhineland traditions, who throw sweets into the crowd. The tiny alemannic groups in between seem rather lost.

Karnevalisten.jpg

In spite of all this the streets of Karlsruhe see a hundred thousand or more spectators that day. I wonder why. It is, sorry to say this, about the most boring parade I have ever seen. Since there are no railings along most of the route and people push to get at the sweets thrown, the passage is narrow and the huge trucks get stuck. The parade takes ages and there are huge gaps between the groups. From Marktplatz to Stephansplatz (usually a 10 minute walk) the parade needs about an hour. Check the route the parade takes (newspaper, internet, programme leaflets) and stand in a location as close to the starting point as possible to avoid waiting for ages.

IMG_37905.jpgIMG_37915.jpgIMG_37925.jpg

large_IMG_37928.jpg

A few theme wagons are dealing with local politics. This one is about Europabad, the new pool and spa in Karlsruhe which has been opened in 2008 and caused heaps of trouble, and costs. Political messages, if they are there at all, are rarely witty or funny.

The Sunday parade in Durlach, also beginning at 2 p.m., is shorter and better organized. Presentations are, however, more or less the same as in Karlsruhe, perhaps there are more groups in Alemannic style.

IMG_37933.jpgIMG_37919.jpgIMG_37908.jpg
Alemannic groups marching in the parade

IMG_37902.jpg

A private group with some imagination... The ladies dressed as dishwashing detergent bottles. In the 1970's Pril, a well-known German brand, came in such blue bottles with a red tap and two flower stickers on each bottle. In those times almost everyone had these stickers „Prilblumen“) in their kitchen to decorate tiles or cupboard doors.

.

.

.

Tribute to Daxlanden

large_DSC04333.jpg

4519C436A1245117CC9C0CDD145FF4EE.jpg

Daxlanden is a suburb in the southwest of the city with a catholic tradition since it historically belonged to the Margraviate of Baden-Baden. Daxlanden is famous for its parade on Carnival Saturday. They have a large jester guild in the suburb itself, invite neighbouring guilds, and there are always many big and small groups from the suburb, from kindergarten to bowling clubs and office staff, who come up with a topic and dress up and maybe even design a small cart. This parade, which is one of the few that happen on Saturday, has always been popular in the whole city.

I have taken these photos in 2016. At that time nobody neither knew nor expected that this would have been the last carnival parade in Daxlanden.

Since 2017, the Daxlanden parade is no more. The reasons for the cancellation are safety reasons, in other words, problems concerning alcohol and garbage. In the previous year some juvenile idiots organized a „flashmob“ and hundreds of drunk youths messed up the celebrations. Afterwards the city has set new safety regulations which are impossible to fulfil for a suburban jester guild. So they cancelled the parade for good. No one knows if Daxlanden’s street carnival will ever see a revival.

This is the biggest problem in and around the large city. There is no real tradition and thus neither knowledge nor respect. The youngsters come for booze and party. They have no interest in the parades and local events. In the Black Forest everyone knows what Fastnacht means and how precious and expensive a Häs is. Many city people have no clue and no care. „Party“ means no more than getting drunk and causing trouble, and who cares about the rest of the world. Because of that widespread rowdyness I restrain myself from visiting the smaller parades in the villages around the city. I had long wanted to see the famous Nachtumzug (night parade) in Grötzingen, another suburb. It's too late, though. In regard of the rising problems and readiness for violence and vandalism, for five years the Grötzingen guild have substituted it with a daytime parade.

Here is a photo gallery in memoriam Daxlander Fasnet:

DSC04338.jpgDSC04345.jpgDSC04350.jpgDSC04355.jpgDSC04361.jpgDSC04363.jpg4511F0BBFDB1F69A5BD7EE18649E7A99.jpgDSC04366.jpgDSC04368.jpgDSC04370.jpgDSC04371.jpgDSC04377.jpgDSC04383.jpgDSC04387.jpgDSC04392.jpgDSC04416.jpgDSC04417.jpgDSC04420.jpgDSC04435.jpgDSC04436.jpgDSC04444.jpgDSC04428.jpgDSC04450.jpgDSC04463.jpg

Posted by Kathrin_E 15:30 Archived in Germany Tagged carnival karlsruhe baden-württemberg alemannic_fastnacht Comments (0)

Bühl: Clean Your Candle

large_DSC03863.jpg
Bühler Lichtputzer

DSC03840.jpg
Jester tree in front of church and town hall

This blog entry is special, because the photos are just a few hours old. We are in the middle of the High Days 2017. There is still some leftover confetti stuck in my hair while I am writing this. In Bühl they are certainly partying all night.

Bühl is a small town in the Upper Rhine Plain, just south of Baden-Baden. It belongs to the Ortenau, which is a wine and fruit growing region at the foot of the Black Forest. This is not one of the big Fasnet centres, but one where this festival is thriving and developing well.

I came to Bühl because of a silly coincidence. I was asked for help identifying two photos of a carnival parade in the 1970s that were found in our city archive. One showed a witch, the other a jester figure with a tool that looked like an oversized pair of scissors but strangely deformed. With a bit of serendipity and patient searching, I came across the jester guild of Bühl – strike! Now I wanted to see them in real life.

DSC03844.jpgDSC03848.jpgDSC03854.jpgDSC03870.jpgDSC03881.jpgDSC03845.jpg

Bühl’s guild Narrhalla Bühl 1826 e.V. holds the main parade on Sunday afternoon. My impression ist hat they are sort of a roof organization for the several jester guilds in Bühl. The Narrendaddel, a single figure, leads the parade. Hemdglunkerle in white nightshirts, Quetschedeufel („plum devils“), Schrättle, Rebgeister („vine spirits“) and two witch guilds are all at home in Bühl.

The oldest carnival tradition is connected with the Lichtputzer („candle cleaners“) guild and dates back to the year 1534. Historical reports from the 16th century tell of a certain baker, a notorious drunkard and jester, who would note all happenings throughout the year in his book and then, during the carnival days, roam the village pubs together with is companions and hold a jester court. Scissors were used to cut the candlewick so that the person’s „light could burn more brightly from now on“ – symbolically, of course. The Lichtputzer Häs was invented in the 1970s as a revival of this tradition. They carry oversized models of those special scissors that were used to cut candlewicks in former times.

DSC03919.jpgDSC03922.jpg
Plum and Pear

Bühl has been the namesake of the famous Bühler Zwetschgen, a species of blue plums, similar to damson plums but not the same. These fruit are popular because they are tasty and easy to cultivate, and because there are so many uses for them in the kitchen. They make a great topping for cakes, they make woderful jam and plum puree, they can be dried, used for sauces, and for schnapps making (Zwetschgenwasser). Of course these fruit are alive and present in Bühl’s carnival parade. A guild from neighbouring Neusatz, named Niesatzer Hurzle, have created two fruit figures, the plum and the pear. Thus blue and green are their colours.

DSC03970.jpgDSC03999.jpgDSC03909.jpgDSC04047.jpgDSC03994.jpgDSC03930.jpg

Dozens of guilds from the small villages in the northern part of the Ortenau, around Rastatt and Baden-Baden come to Bühl to join the parade. A place like this shows how lively the Fasnet tradition is, with new guilds forming all the time and new figures being designed. Witches are particularly popular.

DSC03895.jpgDSC03894.jpgDSC03893.jpg

In addition to the Fasnet guilds, many groups, clubs, teams, companies, schools from Bühl and surroundings are taking part. Some local issues are addressed, too. In Bühl the church bells, respective the question whether they should toll the hours at night or not, divide public opinion into two parties.

DSC04086.jpg

While one side likes and wants the ringing of the bells, the other side wants undisturbed sleep. The priest (the real one) is keeping out of the discussion, he marches ahead with a sign saying, „Not my business“ and „I don‘t care“.

A scene that made us all laugh… A huge cart with a confetti cannon on top arrived. The guy at the cannon spotted an open window on the first floor and, sitting in the window, one of his mates he obviously knew well. He aimed and shot a full load of confetti into his mate’s living room. (Moral of story: Beware of your friends...)

DSC03956.jpgDSC03963.jpgDSC03966.jpg
Allda Esel from Kappelwindeck – funny donkeys.

DSC04007.jpgDSC04010.jpg

The flail dance: This guild’s Häs represents farmers from former times. The flail is their accessoure. They form a row with the flails on their shoulders, and one by one dive underneath the flails from front to back. The witch is an intruder.

DSC03904.jpgDSC03906.jpg

Dreizipfeleshansele from Achern - one of the prettiest figures I ever saw.

PICTURE GALLERY:
DSC04017.jpgDSC04019.jpgDSC04023.jpgDSC04025.jpgDSC04026.jpgDSC04039.jpgDSC04041.jpgDSC04054.jpgDSC04057.jpgDSC04059.jpgDSC04079.jpgDSC04064.jpgDSC03983.jpgDSC03928.jpgDSC03900.jpgDSC04099.jpgDSC04100.jpg

large_DSC03902.jpg

On the train back home I found myself among a horde of red and black devils whom I had seen in the parade. They came from a village near Rastatt – the Saubergteufel from Ottenau. Other passengers and I talked to some of them. They were good fun. It must be really cool to go on tour with a whole bunch of friends like they do.

large_DSC04032.jpg
From witch with love

Posted by Kathrin_E 14:56 Archived in Germany Tagged festival carnival traditions baden-württemberg alemannic_fastnacht Comments (0)

Luzern: A Jump into Switzerland on Güdismontag

large_DSC04191.jpg
Wey-Frosch with the summit of Rigi in the background

"Güdismontag" is the local name for Carnival Monday, one of the main days in Luzern's Fasnacht (sic!). Not only the spelling differs - Swiss traditions differ in many respect from the Alemannic-German ones, although the base is the same. I hopped over by train for the day because I have long wanted to see the carnival of Luzern.

DSC04120.jpgDSC04121.jpgDSC04122.jpg

DSC04147.jpg
DSC04149.jpg

It is a sunny pre-spring day on the shores of Vierwaldstättersee. The mountain panorama is as beautiful as can be. Snow-capped peaks are reflected in the calm waters of the lake. Cruise boats are waiting for passengers – but today no one cares about lake cruises and mountain views.

There is something in the air. The streets, the quays, the bridges are packed with people, many of them in fancy dress. Fantastic masks roam the streets. The original paintings on Chapel Bridge have disappeared – in fact they are just covered in order to protect them. Insted, the bridge is decorated with Fasnacht pictures. Stalls have been set up that sell food and booze. Bands are playing on the river bank. Guggemusik mixes with the hammering noises from many loudspeakers.

People are already lining up along the route of the big parade. One has to come early to find a good spot.

DSC04130.jpgDSC04143.jpgDSC04154.jpg

At 2 p.m. the Monday parade starts. The best place to watch it is on Seebrücke, the big bridge across the mouth of river Reuss. Especially on a day like this when the photographer appreciates the bright sunlight. I found the bridge less crowded in the middle than at the ends, just mentioning.
Already before the official beginning small masked groups are walking the course. Even the Royal Family is there, with a giant birthday cake for the Queen's 90th…

DSC04178a.jpgDSC04174.jpgDSC04177a.jpg

large_DSC04184.jpg

The official beginning of the parade are riders with the banners of the four main guilds and societies that form Luzern‘s Fasnacht Committee (Fidelitas Lucernensis, Maskenliebhaber-Gesellschaft, Wey-Zunft, Zunft zu Safran).

DSC04188.jpgDSC04187.jpgDSC04193.jpg

The parades on Thursday and Monday are identical except for the leaders. While Thursday is the day of Brother Fritschi and his wife Fritschine and the Safran guild, Monday is ruled by the Wey Frog. The Monday parade is led by Wey-Zunft, whose symbol is the giant frog. They have the prominent place in the first part of the parade which Brother Fritschi and his entourage hold on Thursday. The huge green Frog has his own cart, pulled by members of the guild in frog costumes. The president of the guild is driven in a splendid horse-drawn carriage. Another carriage carries the heads of the other guilds.

DSC04213.jpgDSC04223.jpgDSC04245.jpg

DSC04346.jpg

Then come the 39 numbers of the parade, each of them listing a large guild or band that often consists of several parts. In other words, the whole parade lasts about 3 hours. Many participating groups have huge carts. Each of them chooses a topic that costumes and cart refer to. Some are political others simply meant to entertain. Small independent groups march in between. The self-made masks and costumes are fantastic. Guggemusik bands are an essential part. They will have their biggest event on Tuesday night.

DSC04230.jpg

A frequent topic this year are fantasy figures, Star Wars, fighting roboter creatures à la World of Warcraft and similar – not my world so I do not know how to call them correctly - apologies to the hardcore fans! ;-)
The kind of pictures that you see on the t-shirts of heavy metal fans, you get the idea.

Well, let the photos speak for themselves. After a dozen or so groups in this style, and there were more than a dozen, it becomes slightly boring, though…

DSC04236.jpgDSC04235.jpgDSC04337.jpg
The martial Wild Boar cart is equipped with a huge cannon that shoots - confetti.

DSC04242.jpg
Warriors fight the City of Luzern for some issue in local politics

Is Luzern‘s Fasnacht worth seeing? It certainly is. I came over from Germany for the day so I got to see little more than the Monday parade, though. So my experience is just a snapshot of a small part of it. Some day I would like to join the entire sequence of events, starting with the Big Bang and the arrival of the Fritschi Family on Thursday morning and ending with the Guggemusik Monstercorso and the Farewell Fritschi ceremony on Tuesday night.

E rüüdig schöni Fasnacht to everyone! Enjoy the photo gallery:

.

DSC04163.jpgDSC04202.jpgDSC04226.jpgDSC04180.jpg90_DSC04198.jpgDSC04205a.jpgDSC04218.jpgDSC04252.jpgDSC04258.jpgDSC04265a.jpg90_DSC04267.jpgDSC04272.jpgDSC04284.jpgDSC04288.jpgDSC04289a.jpgDSC04274a.jpg90_DSC04309.jpgDSC04338a.jpgDSC04294.jpgDSC04295a.jpgDSC04299a.jpgDSC04303.jpgDSC04313.jpgDSC04318.jpgDSC04324.jpgDSC04329.jpgDSC04349.jpgDSC04340a.jpgDSC04357.jpgDSC04170.jpg

Posted by Kathrin_E 22:59 Archived in Switzerland Tagged carnival switzerland luzern Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 11 of 11) Previous « Page 1 [2]