Fasching is a very special time of the year in Germany. It is known as the “Silly Season” and is famous for being filled with parades, dances, parties, and tons of fun! Observed between November 11 and Ash Wednesday it varies in different parts of Germany. Some Germans begin to celebrate on 11/11 at 11:11 a.m., while in Southwestern Germany; it starts on Three Kings’ Day, on January 6th.
On Carnival Thursday in Cologne-also known as “Women’s Day” women are known to cut off ties of men and they can kiss the ones they are attracted to. (Sounds like Sadie Hawkins’ Day in the US). This day is in remembrance of the Weiberfastnacht—Washerwomen Revolution—Germany women’s rights movement 185 years ago.
They became angry that the men were out having fun, drinking and celebrating Carnival while they were home working. So they literally ‘threw in the towel’ and marched together to the Town Hall, picked up the key to the city and made it a symbol of their new right to power and freedom. So, at this time in the celebration, they relive the memory by reenacting the taking of the key—all done in fun.
Germany loves their parades, so Carnival is where they shine, trying to have the most colorful and fun floats and performing groups. They often poke fun at the government and political figures. There are jokers, jesters, costumes, masks and every year there is some kind of a motto that is chosen by the local Carnival Clubs. The most famous parade in Cologne is the Rose Monday Parade. Everyone takes off from work and the shops are closed.