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Fasching and Fastnacht

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What is Fasching, Fastnacht, or Karneval?
( German Mardi Gras )

While American's are celebrating Mardi Gras, the Germans call it ...Fastnacht, Fasching, or Karneval

Fasching is Germany's version of Mardi Gras. while the British have "Shrove Tuesday" (pancake day). The climax to the Fasching celebrations takes place on Tuesday 8th Febuary 2005. Most people will get the afternoon off work so that they can go down to the Viktualienmarkt wearing a silly costume. In the weeks leading up to 8th Febuary there are also lots of Gala Balls and other Fasching related events taking place.

It is a time when there are costumes and parades and all sorts of craziness. This climaxes on what is called Fastnacht, ( the night before the fast) which is called Mardi Gras here or Fat Tuesday. It's root's go way back to ancient Roman times.
The History of Mardi Gras

Rome conquered Germany as far as the Elbe River , ( in the Rhineland area). The Romans took their beloved festival that they called Carnevale, wherever they went. It was accepted well and to this day is still celebrated in the Catholic areas of Germany. It makes sense. The people of the cities were ruled with an iron fist, and were couped up all winter, and needed a good release. No one understood this more than the ruling class. So they had parades and costumes. They towns folk elected their own king and queen, and the rulers for this festival waited on the peasants.

They object of the costumes was to mock the leaders and Church officials and embarrass them as much as possible. In the big halls people sit at long tables, eat and drink, sing and listen to clowns or jokers who again ridicule the whole establishment. The jokers are called “Buettenredner”. The name derives from the fact that the joker often stands in a fat, (Buett) which was used to wash the dirty laundry in. This is their aim, to wash the “dirty laundry” of the community out in the open for everyone to see, hear and laugh about. In between there is plenty of music and dancing and schunkeln, (linking arms, moving from site to site and with the rhythm of the music).

Karneval in Germany
The Rhenish Carnival (or "Fasching") dates back to 1823. The cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf and Mainz are strongholds of carnival celebrations. Traditionally, the "fifth season" is declared open at 11 minutes past eleven on the 11th of November! It culminates in the "three crazy days" in February, taking place from "Weiberfastnacht", the day on which women take control of the cities to "Karnevalsdienstag" (Shrove Tuesday). Highlight of the street carnival is "Rosenmontag" (Rose Monday) when the Rhenish cities get truely crazy and millions of spectators line the streets to watch the official parades of the numerous carnival associations. Tons of sweets, chocolate bars and bunches of flowers are being distributed to the crowd. Carnival ends the next day, on "Aschermittwoch" (Ash Wednesday).


Munich, Germany: The Old Center and Viktualienmarkt



Tanz der Marktfrauen am Viktualienmarkt mit Christine Neubauer







Want to see some video's of the Fasching Festival.....
Video's of Fasching

One of the popular foods on Fastnacht is called by that very name.It is a yeast raised potato doughnut that is deep fried and in places served with syrup.
Here is a recipe for Fastnachts

The tradition started because at the begining of Lenten season you would not eat rich foods like eggs , butter and cream as well as meat. So on fastnacht, or Shrove Tuesday, (always 46 days before Easter) doughnuts were a good way to use them up. Many parts of Europe have a similar tradition and similar recipes called names like "Pancake Tuesday", or as they call it in New Orleans, Fat Tuesday. "
Here is more information. Fat Tuesday (Fastnacht) around the world

In Germany during Fastnacht, Jelly doughnuts are also popular and are called Faschingkrapfen or Berliner Pfankuchen.
Custard filled doughnuts are popular as well and sometimes called Bismarcks.


Here are more recipes,

Berliner Pfankuchen
Go here for recipe and more information


Go here for recipe and more information

Rostige Ritter: cinnamon rolls
2 servings


4 stale white bread rolls
1½ cups (400 ml) of milk
2 eggs
1 cup (100 g) of sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter


Mix the cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
Stir eggs and milk together.
Cut bread rolls in half and soak in egg and milk sauce until soggy.
Heat butter in a pan.
Squeeze the bread rolls a bit and cover completely with sugar/cinnamon mix.
Fry in the pan until golden brown.


A simple, cheap, sweet, and filling meal that may taste more like dessert to most people. Fried sugar and cinnamon bread. Just don't count the calories.... While some people eat the rostige ritter with fruit, others prefer vanilla sauce.


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Last updated February 8, 2016