Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, the last day before Lent kicks in. It is the last day to celebrate, make merry, break the rules & have some fun! Here in Germany it is almost as big a deal as Carnival in Brazil. I took the little ones over to the big parade a couple towns over, not really knowing what to expect, but having received lots of explanation from my neighbor, Karin. Unfortunately, strep throat hit her house and we were on our own.
It was a beautiful day, warm (above freezing), sunny and clear. Despite directions that were one step shy of; turn left at the old oak tree farmer Klaus cut down last April, I did find the right town and managed to park in field with dried mud (ie, I was able to get out without getting stuck). All the kids were dressed in costume, and plenty of adults as well. We saw many of the “Hexen” (witches) on their way to the parade.
Thanks to Karin I knew that each town had their own colors. I knew that boy & girl witches wore skirts with bloomers, and that many wore the traditional woven shoes. I also knew most witches wore wooden mask. According to Karin, the masks are “cool”. I found them very disconcerting, yet also hauntingly beautiful. Each town seemed to have their own mask as well. I think I need more stories behind why the masks, who makes, how I get Tess one… Tess was dying to be in the parade!
The first 15 minutes of the parade were very uneventful, just beautiful, unique and I loved watching each village march by. Then it got crazier, or maybe I just finally noticed. Karin had mentioned that the Hexen would steal “volunteers”. It turns out stealing means grabbing unsuspecting people, standing on the sidewalk, minding their own business, toss them over their shoulders and cart them away, or grab them, fall down on the street, at which point a second Hexen would help make a “volunteer sandwich”, and roll. This was most often followed by a doggy pile on the hapless volunteer and or “creaming”. The creaming was mostly done with confetti, and some flour, but occasionally with lovely black shoe polish as well.
Approximately 30 minutes into the parade Tess got creamed. As Dane got braver, and came out from behind the stroller, he too got creamed. Poor little Dane made a very attractive target to many of the Hexen. He got not only creamed, but also shoe polished, much to his dismay, and he had his hat stolen (no worries he ran off down the street, in the middle of the parade, to retrieve it). Luckily he had on snowboots, no laces, so his shoes weren’t stolen. Hexen looooooooove shoelaces. Who knew?
Thankfully the Hexen were very respectful of my beautiful camera. Once I realized I was being spared from “volunteering” because of my camera, I kept right on taking pictures. I have a grand total of 634 pictures just from yesterday, and I had it on 1-click picture taking! I did get creamed once. And I got whacked with a blown-up, dried, pigs bladder. Good times.