Wednesday, February 25, 2009

GUEST POST: Berlin Fasching Parade

by afferent input

Well, this is my first post to 50%; thanks to Yellis for letting me take over her blog for the moment.

While Yellis was at a choir concert last Sunday, BabyBird and I (The Scientist) went the the big Berlin Fasching parade. We set up camp just north of the Zoologischear Garten bahnhof where we had a good view of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche (you can see it way at the end of the street in the pic below):
Despite it being about 1 Deg C and misting and the fact that everyone was forced to stand in slushy, muddy puddles at the side of the road, most people were having a grand ol' time. People seem to take Fasching quite seriously, as evidenced by the significant proportion of parade watchers wearing some pretty great costumes:
This crab-man was particularly noteworthy:

These cute little MonChiChis were a hit
Anyway, the parade began. Many of the floats were what you would have expected; filled with people dressed in costumes revolving around some theme, like pirates or clowns. But many were just plain weird. Like this giant parsnip float:
There was an "American" float, focused on, you guessed it, a Wild West Theme, including a bison's head mounted onto the front of the truck:
Many floats had a political message, such as Save Templehof and other causes. Politicians were the butt of the joke of many floats, like this one (to be perfectly honest, I don't get why taking the Photoshop smudge tool to distort a bunch of faces would be funny, or even what the heck it means):

There were several floats on the financial crisis, obviously a major topic on everyone's minds:
One thing I was surprised to see was people in black face. No, really, people were dressed in black face and throwing candy to people.
I thought that was only a Holland thing, but I guess not...

Drinking played a big role in many of the floats. Nearly every float had people drinking beer (or something stronger). This guy dressed as a Becks beer bottle looked pretty stupid (on the right):
But this guy dressed as a Spanish Inquisitor with bottle-bandoleer around his waist made up for it:
Some floats had somewhat "mature" themes, like this guy with not enough clothes:
And don't even bother asking why a float filled with Smurfs would be covered with pictures women with giant breasts:
The float-riders were throwing out penny candy and popcorn for the most part. One float was throwing out sun-shades for car windshields. Floats would occasionally toss out a stuffed animal; the old lady in front of me ended up with a stuffed eisbaer (polar bear) 2 feet tall. BabyBird wasn't that lucky, but he did end up with a cute puppy:
And one of the funniest things came at the very end. Right behind the very last float in the parade, the cleaning crew was hard at work!

Street cleaners, guys with leaf blowers, other guys with brooms and dustpans. Gotta love German efficiency!

Anyway, I guess I could think of worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon. BabyBird had fun, and I came away with pockets full of candy and popcorn.


J said...

Funnily enough, yours was very similar to ours (including the cleaning crew) - I would have expected more from Berlin.

Yelli said...

I thought that was odd too although historically Berlin does not have the tradition of Fasching. However, a lot of people from Bonn moved here when the capital moved so I also thought it would swing the other way. I compare it here to celebrating Mardi Gras in Seattle. :)

So Smrt said...

OMG, I totally love parsnips.