Tuesday, February 20, 2007


So, I survived Gardner being in Sweden for 4 days. Survived Valentine's Day. And even Survived Carnival. Carnival is a very big deal here in Germany. And I will elaborate more on Carnival at the bottom.

Due to Carnival, the kids have been out of school for a few days. Thursday, they each had a Carnival party at school. This is the only thing that happened at school on this day. They all got out of school at 11:11 am. Then they had Friday, Monday and Tuesday off for celebrations.
Friday Hannah had an appointment to see what is called the School Doctor. This is not really a doctor. This is a person who assesses each child going into the Elementary School to see if they are ready. This was Hannah's second appointment as she would not do anything the first time around. This time, Hannah did better. She did the eye exam, Ear Test, Drawing test, games. But when it came time to talk, she cried and wanted to go home. Well, they sent us upstairs to talk to a Psychologist. While there, Hannah talked up a storm. When I asked her afterwards why she talked upstairs and not downstairs, her reply was "downstairs was boring and upstairs was fun with all the toys". ARGH! Now, we have to go back again. More work for me.

Ian is moving all over the place now a days. He rolls from one side of the room to the other. Grabs on to everything in his site. Even starts to get up on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth. He can not hold himself up too long on his hands and knees, but he is getting there. It is amazing how fast he is growing.

Both Emma and Ian have been sick again. They both have colds again. But this time, both of their eyes have been draining as well. I don't think it is pink eye, but you can never be too sure. It is definately gross. I have been thinking it is a cold in the eyes, but I am treating it as if it was Pink Eye, just in case.

I took the kids to Toys R Us today. What started out as a pleasant day doing something fun since the kids were out of school turned into a stressful day for me. The kids have been saving up their money. Spencer had almost 100 Euros. Shantal almost 50 Euros. Of course, Hannah only had 6 Euros. It is harder for her to save. She wants the instant gratification more than the others. So, knowing Hannah's birthday is next week, I granted her a birthday loan. Spencer bought 2 Star Wars toys. He is very excited about them. Once was a Star Fighter Ship and the other had 4 Action Figures....Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and a few others. He spent 67 Euros. Shantal bought a little pillow and a baby doll that is a new baby in a hospital bassinet. Emma loved that Shantal bought this toy. Shantal spent 30 Euros. Then Hannah bought a container of Make Up. It was 20 Euros. Shantal bought something similar at Christmas, and of course, Hannah needed her own. The problem with Toys R Us, is it is so far away and the two smaller kids were not ready for such a long day at the store.

Anyway, here is the information about Carnival here in Germany. I got the information once again from www.dw-world.de.

Wild Weeks on The Rhine
The people along the Rhine tend to go crazy over carnival. They'll let it all hang out during the time they refer to as the "fifth season".

In Mainz, Cologne and Düsseldorf, the Carnival season gets off to an early start.
People here celebrate the official opening of the season in November: on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:11 in the morning – the number eleven is traditionally associated with Carnival.

A wild week
The last week of Carnival -- the week prior to Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of Lent -- is when the celebrations become the wildest.
In the Rhine region, public life comes to a complete stand-still during these days.

People are out all day and most of the night, dressed up in colorful costumes.
Foreigners who visit cities like Cologne or Düsseldorf during these festive days often find it hard to believe that there are so many grown-ups everywhere wearing ridiculous costumes, make-up, funny hats and wigs.
Are these really the same Germans who are stereotyped as being Prussian, efficient and without any trace of a sense of humor?

Women's Carnival: Weiberfastnacht
One of the highlights of Carnival in the Rhineland is "Weiberfastnacht" or Women's Carnival.

It's celebrated on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday .

On "Weiberfastnacht", women are allowed to do (almost) as they please.
Traditionally, a delegation of women - symbolically - storms the city's town hall in the morning and makes the mayor hand over control of the city to the women.

As a symbol of cutting off men's power on "Weiberfastnacht", women cut off men's ties. The men are then compensated with a little kiss on the cheek.
Every man who wears a suit and tie is open game on this day - so you'd better wear a tie you don’t really like.

Carnival parades
The Monday before Ash Wednesday is called "Rose Monday".

On this day, Cologne, Mainz, Düsseldorf and many smaller towns put on large and colorful parades. Gigantic floats are decorated to poke fun at politicians or events that happened during the past year. The highlight of the parade is always the float with the carnival prince and his court.

People on all the floats throw candy and flowers to the people watching along the way.

In between the floats, marching bands play Carnival songs, the lyrics of which everyone in these cities knows by heart and can sing along.
Hundreds of thousands of people watch the parade go by from the sidewalks and millions tune in to the live coverage on national German television.

1 comment:

Gerry said...

Hey those are lovely photos...thanks for sharing them...and it was lovely reading through your post...and hey since Women's Day is coming up soon i'd also like you to take a peek into my blog on Womens Day Greetings sometime and enjoy all the resources i've posted there...i'm sure you'll enjoy your visit!!!

March 2007