Call it Fasching, Karneval, Fasnacht or Mardi Gras, at this time of year children and adults in parts of Germany, Switzerland and Austria put on their costumes, line the streets for parades, and are showered with candy while shouting “Helau” or “Alaaf” or singing songs. Join the German School of Morris County for a Karneval celebration on Saturday Feb. 22 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Just as a high school marching band in uniform with epaulettes performs for a crowd, the “Funkenmariechen” girls, dressed in red and white skirt uniforms, will perform traditional dances. The school president will announce this year’s Prince and Princess who “rule” their “subjects” back home for the duration of the Karneval season. Naturally, parents will bake authentic treats such as Krapfen, which resemble doughnuts.
Historically, cities throughout Germany, portions of Austria, and Switzerland celebrate Karneval, though each region has its own interpretations. Often local guilds or carnival clubs perform dance, comedy skits and participate in street parades immediately prior to or on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday), which precedes Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. In some regions Karneval represents good and evil with costumed attendees wearing happy and angry masks to signify the happiness of the approaching spring and/or to ward off the dark, evil spirits of winter. For children, Karneval often means a day off from school, participation in the carnival celebrations and receiving sweets.
“We host an annual Karneval in keeping with our mission to share our cultural heritage with students and the community at large,” notes Principal Michaela Greco.
For more information about this event and activities of the German School of Morris County, please visit: www.glscm.org, and like us on Facebook.