We call it Mardi Gras: the celebration held before Ash Wednesday. In Germany it’s called Karneval, Fasching or Fastnacht. The best known Karneval celebrations are held in Cologne (Köln), Mainz, Munich (München) and Rottweil. The most famous celebrations are held in Brazil, but Germany gets its share of notoriety as well. Karveval is mostly celebrated in the Roman Catholic regions of Germany (south and west); although, I was surprised to learn that Berlin also celebrates Karneval, but to a lesser extent. I’ve been visiting Berlin for 10 years, and this was the first I heard of it.

The main event of Karneval is the parade usually held on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday). In Berlin, the parade was held yesterday. Unlike Mardi Gras, where the participants throw cheap necklaces to the onlookers, the participants in the Karneval parade throw real gifts such as flowers, candy, popcorn, sausages, stuffed animals, and even aluminum foil. Now that’s a parade! In fact, I was almost injured scooping up all the free handouts and pushing the children out the way. J

Here are some pictures I took. Btw: I had a great time!