“Men’s ballet.” Another gift from the internet is the very welcome wonderful wealth of videos showing male dancers gracing small-town German carneval celebrations.


Stars, in the mardi gras-distributed dialect of the Roman-founded city of Cologne (Rhine).


Jemand, der zum Lachen in den Keller geht

“Someone who goes in the cellar to laugh.” Someone with no sense of humor.

(YAY mond,   dare   tsoom   LOCHH en   in   dane   KELLER   gate.)


Bucket. Large buckets used to transport harvested grapes in Germany’s wine regions were turned upside-down and used as lecterns for humorous speeches during Karneval celebrations, which is why today’s poets and jesters are called Büttenredner or “bücket orators.”


“Mainz bleibt Mainz, wie es singt und lacht.”

“Mainz remains Mainz, in the manner in which it sings and laughs.” A formal annual municipal mardi gras television show that lasts for hours. News-related poems, jokes, songs and speeches are presented to the good-humored costumed crowd, whose tables are kept cheerful by a steady stream of beer and wine. Eventually, clown nose-wearing viewers fall into a reverie before their tv screens, occasionally remembering to blow “tra la!” on toy horns.

(My nts   bl eye bt   my nts,   vee   ess   zing t   oont   lochh t.)

Man muss die Feste feiern, wie sie fallen

You have to celebrate the holidays on the days they occur.

(Mon moose dee FEST eh fire n, vee zee foll en.)


If you yell this during today’s carnaval parade in Cologne, costumed people will throw gifts at you that include chocolates, long-stemmed roses, shrink-wrapped blood sausage, and soap samples.



The Thursday before Ash Wed. when women cut off men’s ties at work and on the street. People start drinking at noon. Normal life will resume in Lent.

(OLT vibe er FOST nockt.)

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