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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

February 4, 2008

Rosenmontag 2008

Filed under Life in Europe

Germany has been called "the land of poets and thinkers", but you would have to wonder about that today while watching the traditional "Rosenmontag" parades which are the highlight of the annual Mardi Gras celebrations here.

You wonder what happened to all the "thinkers" when you see several hundred thousand Rosenmontag people in costumes – with many of them cross-dressed – standing in the rain. (My mother taught me to come in out of the rain.) But some of them probably didn’t realize it was raining, since Rosenmontag is also a festival of the spirit(s) and they may have been too inebriated to realize it. :-)

Actually, a considerable amount of creativity is evident during the Rosenmontag parades. The big parade in Düsseldorf is considered to be the most "political" of the parades, Rosenmontag since each year some of the floats are devoted to political topics and at times challenge the limits of propriety. This year was no exception, with a look ahead to "Super Tuesday" and Barak Obama taking a chunk out of Hillary’s behind. Another float depicted Islamic terrorist leader Osama bin Laden taking a "blood bath". Islamic extremism is definitely not off limits as a topic for floats, since last year’s parade featured a controversial float equating Islamic clerics with terrorists.

Another float pictured Finnish cell phone manufacturer Nokia with its slogan of "connecting people". The people connected in this case were employees at Nokia’s Bochum plant, which will be closed. The connection? A big knife stabbed through the back of three Nokia employees.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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