These are some French and British World War I propaganda postcards that feature bitter remarks about the German “Kultur” (“Kolossal Kultur”) that manifested itself in war atrocities, bombed cities and the theft of cultural heritage objects.
French Nationalist Jacques Bainville had proclaimed as early as in 1912: “La civilisation française est une civilisation supérieure et … la Kultur allemande n’est qu’une forme de la barbarie”.
The five foolish virgins in the foreground surely have a much better time than those wise virgins praying in the back room. Not only do they have booze and fingerfood galore, but there’s also that perennial impiousness going on: harpsichord playing!
Someone pointed out that it’s not a harpsichord, but a virginal. Well, a virginal _is_ a kind of harpsichord. Whatever.
A carnival was first mentioned in Ravensburg in a 1353 law document (see the first image above).
In the 19th century, the carnival here was very much dependent on what we now call the “Rhenish” carnival, as it is celebrated in Cologne or Mainz. It was mostly called “Fasching” back then.The advertisements and photos above illustrate this period.
A Ravensburg “Fasnet” of the “Swabian-Alemannic” variety was eventually developed in 1968 by the Schwarze Veri Zunft.
(All images are from Beate Falk’s article in the book “Fasnacht in Ravensburg”, Ravensburg 2000. Some more are to be found on the Wikimedia Commons ).
During carnival, the Schömberg carnivalists perform their traditional dance numerous times. These photos were taken on the morning of carnival monday 2014. The dance is called „da Bolanes“, which means „the Polonaise“ in the local Swabian dialect.
The two main types of Schömberg carnival figures take part: the „Fransenkleidle“ with their colorful fringed costumes and small bells, and the „Fuchswadel“ with their white, painted costumes, larger bells and red fox tails. The dance is led by two soldier figures called „Husar“. The local marching band plays the „Narrenmarsch“ over and over again during the whole hour that this spectacular show lasts.
Schömberg is a pretty godforsaken little town (population: 4,617) between Rottweil and Balingen. Their carnival („Fasnet“) rivals with the very best, though, and their famous dance may be the single most beautiful event you can encounter in German carnivals (see the next posting). While there are quite a lot of visitors for their parade and dance on carnival Sundays, the Monday is much more quiet. The local carnivalists told me that they repeat the whole thing just for their own pleasure, and it was obvious to me that they enjoyed every minute of it. Thus these photos of the Monday parade starting at 8.11 a.m. show a spectacularly beautiful and resplendent carnival, without anyone witnessing it but the local „fools“ themselves.
The carnival („Fasnet“) in Oberndorf am Neckar has three main types of „fools“. The „Hansel“ with his eye-catching wig and umbrella, the „Narro“ with painted costume, heavy bells and a pretzel stick, and the slow and limping „Schantle“.
They all present spectators with little gifts (paid by each person behind the mask for themselves): candy, pretzels, oranges and sausages. Every year, the Oberndorf carnivalists hand out over 40,000 pretzels on carnival Tuesday. To put that in perspective, you have to know that the whole town only has 13,691 inhabitants, with 2,500 of them taking part in the parade.
The carnival („Fasnet“) in the little town of Wolfach in the Black Forest has an Italianate feel to it. It is lighthearted and cheerful, and the costumes are reminiscent of the commedia dell’arte tradition.
The Wolfach carnivalists boast a fine theatre tradition and thus offer a free open-air comedy play every year. Every so often, they play a delightful baroque farcical play “Die Weibermühle von Tripstrill” about a mill that makes old women young again, in the lines of the “fountain of youth” motive that is more commonly found elsewhere. It was written in the 1780s or 1790s in Wolfach. I photographed it two years ago, see http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Die_Weiberm%C3%BChle_von_Tripsdrill_%28Wolfach%29
The carnival („Fasnet“) in Elzach, a little town in the Black Forest, is given a special distinction by hundreds of wild men called „Schuttig“ with their red costume and their many different masks. They are actually quite aggressive towards spectators. I got hit on the head with a sow bladder (and, yes, these are actually pig bladders) around twenty times during my two hours in Elzach last Sunday. This makes a terrifying sound, but you feel it hardly at all.