Helau!

(a cry of excitement to greet fellow revelers)

Carnival/Karneval is finally here! Toby has been talking about it ever since we moved to Düsseldorf. According to him, this beloved tradition is what makes the second half of winter bearable. While Karneval officially marks the beginning of Lent (if you do that kind of thing), it also serves to break up the monotonous cold with a long weekend of free-flowing Altbier, dancing, and crazy costumes.

I have been awaiting my first Karneval with a mix of excited anticipation and ever-so-slight apprehension. I am by no stretch of the imagination a beer drinker, at all. But no worries – I don’t usually need a lot of (read: any) alcohol to get me dancing. The costume aspect was slightly stressful; I’ve never been a big fan of events requiring a costume. I don’t think I have enough creativity or willingness to spend money on something so fleetingly useful. I kind of like what I came up with though – 80s workout video star, complete with leotard, leg warmers, and neon. But how to not freeze your butt off while waiting to get into the party? Luckily it ‘warmed’ up to just above freezing again. Scales are tipped – anticipation is greater than apprehension!

Yesterday was our first day. I had to make a grocery store run over lunch to make sure we had enough post-party snack food at home. The streets were already teeming with all sorts of wild characters getting an early start – muscle men, a shark, a kangaroo with his pouch full of bottles of beer, what looked like the Arizona lottery elf, the grandmother from Little Red Riding Hood (inside was a man). I couldn’t help but giggle my way down the street.

In the afternoon (why not get the party started early?) we met friends to head over to one of the parties. It was me, a fully decked out 70s tennis player, and Snow White and some of her Dwarves. Standing in line wasn’t so bad – the vintage tennis case doubled as a mobile bar (I said he was fully decked out). Inside the atmosphere was fabulously festive! Everybody in costume, loud music, flashing lights. Eight hours later (if you’re going to party, you might as well go all in!), we headed home, me a new fan of Karneval.

The countdown to tonight’s party has begun!

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11 thoughts on “Helau!

  1. Wow, thought I’d never see a leotard and leg warmers again! I am sorry (oh, you have no idea how sorry) to say I actually have worn both in the past. For real.

    Sounds like a great time. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Hilarious! There are also people wandering around in Pope costumes, as gigantic tubes of spicy Loewensenf mustard (a Duesseldorf specialty), and the like, just in case you’re ever in Duesseldorf over Carnival…. :)

  2. Pingback: Mardi Gras vs. Carnival – The coolest hot spots east and west of the Atlantic (Some here music, too!) « the transatlantic diablog

  3. Wow…at first I was gonna ask where you found all that stuff ’cause surely you wouldn’t have saved it after all these years and carted it across an ocean…but then I remembered that pic of the 80’s hair clips on the shelf in a store you took a few months ago. So, next year your Carnival outfit may be considered trendy. :)

  4. Pingback: I’m back | chanceofsun

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