This week, we have the carnival all over town. Traditionally, the carnival marks the beginning of the 40 days of Lent – the word “carnival” is said to derive from Italian “carne levare” (remove the meat) or late Latin “carne vale” (goodbye, meat). (On a nutritional sidenote: I am not into things like that anymore, anyway.) However, meanwhile, it mostly means a lot of celebrating and partying (accompanied by the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol), particularly in the western, middle, and southern parts of the country. For somebody who comes from northern Germany and has not grown up with these traditions, it is a culture shock indeed.

I usually stay at home on days like these, but today I had an early-afternoon appointment with two friends at the institute, to bring our research project forward. This was exactly the time when the parade would take place in the inner city. So, the city was completely stuffed with people who wanted to see the wagons and catch the candies which were thrown from them. It was a hopeless endeavor to get through that crowd.

~ just looking at all those people fulfilled my (already somewhat non-existent) need for social exposure for the next couple of months ~

I had to sneak through the side alleys and approach the institute from behind, to get there at all. On my way there, I shot a picture of the river for you.

~ the trees on the hills are still winterly poor and leafless ~

At 3 pm, the whole city was drunk already, and thick walls and double glass windows did not suffice to keep the noise out that came from the street. Also, the basses were so loud that the whole building was vibrating. But three psychologists who are on a mission would not be stopped by anything. When we finished our meeting at 5 pm, the parade was over, and the inner city looked like a battlefield. I happily serve you the leftovers.

~ this is not snow, it is confetti! ~

~ these used to be the traditional carnival candies, I know them from my childhood already – so lovely they still exist! ~

So, I have survived the carnival for this year. What about you? Do you have carnival traditions where you live? Do you like street festivals like this, or prefer to stay away from them?

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