Carnival – the Fifth Season in Germany

The Germans call ‘carnival’ Karneval, Fastnacht, Fasching or even ‘die fünfte Jahreszeit’ (the 5th season). It ends the day before Ash Wednesday with many processions and parties going on during the week up to that Tuesday.

But why am I writing about this today?

As you can imagine, those processions take a long time to prepare. Most of the work starts in earnest after the 6th January. But the official starting date of the German carnival season is the 11th of the 11th at 11 minutes past 11 on St Martin’s Day. That has been happening since the 19th century but apparently something similar has been happening as far back as the year 354 – and no, I’m not missing a digit!

I am not a carnival fan but would love a little time travel to see what they did in 354 ….


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