We sure dress up a lot around here, I thought to myself as I watched Jack and Nora board the school bus one morning and wave goodbye through the window dressed as a dinosaur and as an American Girl Doll. It was Fasching, the German term for Carnival and Mardi Gras. All day long there were great costumes to see but my favorite was a boy of about 15 or 16, casually walking along the street in Frankfurt, book bag slung over his shoulder, and wearing a penguin suit. The arrival of Fasching, to me, has always meant that winter shouldn’t be too much longer but, not this year. There was no shock or disappointment as we watched the snow flurries this Easter morning. Winter doesn’t want to end but I assume, at some point, it will have to.
But, back to the costuming….Every year, mixing more than one culture, there’s several opportunities to dress up in various costumes or just for fancy dress: Multiple Oktoberfest celebrations, Jubilee tea for the Queen, Halloween, Australia Day, Fasching, Viennese Balls, a charity gala, Kentucky Derby, and so many more. Being in the expat world, everyone not only wants to keep their cultural customs, they are eager to share them. Never have I encountered more reasons to celebrate than here. Another form of dress up that seems more common here than the US is for the stag parties, where a pack of friends accompany a groom-to-be on a weekend of hijinks and embarrassment. I’ve encountered two stag parties in the past year that were particularly memorable. The first was on a cold spring day last April in Munich. We were wandering through the Viktualienmarkt and heard the unmistakable sounds of something very funny. What we saw was this:
The other one I encountered was in Dresden and this photo may require a bit more explanation. Imagine you are the groom-to-be and your friends put together a sort of cape that has 2 large holes underneath the arms. Then, they march you around town with a soccer ball where they rally passers-by to try to score a goal by kicking the ball through one of the holes while you stand there with your arms stretched to your sides. So, if the person misses, just imagine where that ball goes: your head, your stomach, and any other painful place there is.
Poor guy…and now he is immortalized in a blog.