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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

February 23, 2009

Germany’s Mardi Gras Monday

Filed under Life in Europe

If you live in Düsseldorf or Cologne, you have to get used to Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras Monday in Germany, the Monday right before Ash Wednesday called "Rosenmontag" by the Germans,

 Germans hope President Obama’s lofty words
 will help pull Europe out of the crisis, too.
 Angela Merkel as subsidy mother of the nation,
 nursing sick banks and industry back to health.

is famous for the huge crowds that gather in Mardi Gras ["Karneval" in German] bastions like Aachen, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Mainz to watch the traditional parades. The Rosenmontag tradition dates back over a century, and the parades are known for creative float designs that often poke fun at political leaders – domestic and international – and developments on the world scene. In recent years the Rosenmontag parade in Düsseldorf has earned the reputation of producing the most biting political satires among its many parade floats. This year’s was milder than some of the other ones in recent years, but the parade lived up to its reputation of poking fun at politicians who made the news since the last parade. Two of the major news items of recent months were bound to show up as float characters: President Obama and the international financial crisis. One float depicted President Obama pulling Europe along with his lofty "Yes, we can!" rhetoric. That’s not surprising for a fellow who gave a speech to 200,000 Germans in Berlin last summer not far from the Brandenburg gate. Most of them did not seem to be listening when then candidate Obama said Europeans needed to do more in shouldering the burden of fighting terrorists in Afghanistan. Chancellor Merkel was pictured as a nursing wolf on another float, with her subsidy milk being doled out to help banks and underfinanced industries.

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


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