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Carneval 2005 in Mainz

More impressions from Rosenmontag


You will not believe what is all in the air on Rosenmontag ...

One more report from the Rosenmontags-gang. Here I am with my colleague Philippe. He is from Flensburg, one of the most Northern towns in Germany. And they do not have carneval.

First thing you have always in the air is a lot of rubbish. In former times there was much more "Konfetti". Konfetti is that paper stuff which comes out of a hole punch, if you make holes in paper. So you could say Konfetti is the contrary of a hole. But it makes a lot of rubbish on the street and is not easy to clean. What you see above is glitter in the air. Little pieces of aluminium foil they shoot there with a sort of cannon. I makes nice light effects, but is basically also not very useful.

But I should tell about "Kamelle". On the streets you may basically hear people cry two words. One word is Hellllaaaaauuuuu .... this is what we already know. The other word is "Kamelle".
To say it in simple words: If you are very good in shouting Helllaauuu, you think you should be awarded with 'Kamelle'. Kamelle is candy or sweet things. It may have its origin in the word caramel, which is the same in German and in English.

All these big wagons you have during the parade are completely packed with candies, sweets and other things. The throw them just into the masses of people who pick them up from the ground and put them into a bag.

The son of my friend was rather good in gathering and had a complete shopping bag full of things. In former times in my early childhood, the candies were usually rather bad. In the end people did not want anymore to pick them up. They were very sweet, sticky, bad for the teeth, cheap and not tasty.

But organisers learned from this, sponsors as well. Now popcorn is rather popular, also some candy bars or chocolate bars, packed waffels. For little children small balls are still attractive and somtimes you even get a big plastic ball of socker ball size. Certainly everbody is proud who got one.
But whatever they have on the wagons or also on the horses, people still cry for "Kamelle" and complain if they really get them and nothing better ...
On the car top left they had pretzels and Kreppel. It was from the local bakers guilde.

Hm ... I guess now I have to explain, what 'Kreppel' is. Kreppel is an expression you find in the region of Mainz. The more common German expression is 'Berliner' or 'Berliner Ballen'. It is a sweet pastry, very light and air containing where some marmelade is filled in. In America they perhaps would say, it is like a donut. But it is not really the same - however comparable in the way how it is made. Also Berliner are baked in oil and rather fatty. I tell about Kreppel, because it is typical to sell them Carneval on the streets. But you get them in all seasons of the year in the bakery.

Berliner Ballen

For the people on the wagons, there is a special sport by the way. As you see on the picture above many people look from the windows of the houses or stand on the balcony if they have one. The sport is now to throw candies and balls far enough to get the things into the window.
Most needed after carneval are the cleaning machines. You find tons of rubbish from the parade and certainly also tons of bottles ... no festival without alcohol, in particular Carneval. It is cold anyway ...

Well ... there is a song, a famous one: "Ole ole fiesta, fiesta here at the Rhine, can be as nice ... as nice ... as at Rio Grande." (very free translation - it is German Portuguese or Spanish mixture). If thinking about Carneval the world looks to Brazil, to Rio and Bahia, thinking about Samba, hot rythm, hot costumes and hot nights. The problem here is, it is cold, usually between -3 and 10°C, depending on the weather. Nevertheless there are few tough guys ignoring this and running round naked the full four hours of the parade.

The naked cardboard figure in the background was a caricature on "The Swan"
"Mainzelmännchen" - These nice guys here above are well known in whole Germany. Mainzelmännchen have a long long TV tradition. The second German TV channel, as I told, is located in Mainz. And the Mainzelmännchen were traditionally a break with a very small cartoon of a few seconds in the advertisment phase in TV. When they had 10 mins of advertising for example after the main news with 8 or 9 spots you had always the Mainzelmännchen in between separating the spots.
It is told that after 40 years they shall be replaced by another cartoon in Japanese style. I do not really know if it is already realised. In any case there was a protest campaign: Help the Mainzelmännchen!

Aren't they cute?

Finally, carneval would not be carneval without the guards. Germany as well as other parts of Europe have from the middle ages a tradition in military uniforms and guards. The tall soldiers for example of Friedrich the Great are very well known. Carneval was always ridiculing the guards and with them the authorities. The guards where sitting on a funny wooden horse like down right, the guards where dancing, they had flowers in their guns and some of the dances (for example if two men were rubbing their bottoms to each other) were really ridiculous. But on the other hand, people in the guards where nevertheless a bit proud of the nice uniform. And some of them have really wonderful horses ...

Die Mainzer Hofsänger
I will finish with a very famous choir from Mainz. You see them on the wagon below which is always one of the last and largest in the parade. Die Mainzer Hofsänger (the Mainz court singers) form always the end of the big TV show. They are a rather good choir and they have also an own website (in German) you can have a look on:

Helau! from Mainz

again and many thanks for visiting the site.
I hope you liked it.

(next time I wil answer on a few of the many questions I got, but it may become end of February until I have it ready)