Only few people know, but there’s no country to celebrate Carnival the way Germany does! Carnival is actually called “the 5th season” and it runs each year from the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:11 a.m. until Ash Wednesday (usually in mid February).
Punctually for this year’s Nov 11, Edgar distributed the ABSOLUT ALAAF postcard (Edgar’s n° 7761).
If you are German, you’ll immediately know that this card must have been issued in Cologne and unfortunately, only in Cologne.
So what’s the background? If you’re interested, please open the link for the whole story below.Practically each region in Western and Southern Germany celebrates Carnival and in each area, it is celebrated in a different way.
The whole festivity is meant to drive away the demons of the winter time and to celebrate the time when days start getting longer again.
The most important things: Everybody is dressed up, almost everybody drinks… a lot actually… and everybody is in a good mood.
People kiss each other on the cheeks even though they have never met before, people are singing and dancing and everybody is just enjoying a good time.
A lot of events are organised, including shows with many many local comedians and often “dirty” jokes, but there are also dancing nights where you will only hear funny German music as you can do on the Oktoberfest.
There are a lot of parades in the bigger cities, too, where extremely large paper-mâché copies of famous persons, such as politicians, sportsmen, actors, etc. are showing them in embarassing situations they have been in (e.g. Boris Becker becoming a father even though he has ever “seen” the woman for approximately 5 minutes.. in a broom closet… no joke!); music bands are walking through the streets playing the classic German Carnival songs; people on trucks are throwing flowers, candy, etc. into the crowd and so on.
Cologne is probably the wildest carnival city in Germany, and everybody wants to underline that by crying out “Alaaf” or “Kölle Alaaf” all the time, meaning as much as “Cologne above all”.
The postcard issued by Edgar was originally issued as ABSOLTU INCOGNITO and shows the masked Absolut Vodka bottle (remember … everybody is dressed up in some way).
I found a two-paged and very good article on the website of the German Embassy in Ottawa, Canada.
It’s worth reading to understand how crazy Germans - who have the reputation to be stiff and to lack a sense of humour - can be.