One of the difficult things about living in a foreign country for an extended period of time is learning how to handle their customs. Many European countries celebrate carnival for the week in the run up to Ash Wednesday, dressing up and scaring off evil spirits.
For the first seven years that I lived in Germany I simply ignored their carnival season. But since having children, I have had to get used to the fact that I have to get involved, if only for their sake.
The first few years it was all a bit of a chore – face painting a toddler, dressing him up in fancy dress, dressing me up in fancy dress, bringing him to a parade and faking having a good time just isn’t my thing.
The past four years though have found me looking forward to Fasching, the name used here for canival. I’ve found a role I am happy with – the role of amateur entertainment officer.
Each of the past four years has seen me involved in the entertainment at kindergarten as part of their festivities. I’ve dressed up as a spider and as a traditional Bavarian lady, I’ve made hand puppets for the Punch and Judy show and I’ve even been a walking, talking sack of spuds.
Added to that there has been the creating of costumes for the boys – one each for kindergarten / school, one each for wearing to the parade, one each for the sports club Fasching party. It takes a lot of planning.
This year I outdid myself entirely and made a Gruffalo cake for today’s Gruffalo-themed dress up day at kindergarten. Tonight will see me decorating the sports hall for tomorrow’s Punch and Judy show and prompting my fellow entertainers if they forget their lines.
By this time tomorrow I imagine I will be shattered and it will only be day 2 of the six day carnival. But for the sake of my little knight, my very own R2D2 and my little dinosaur, I’m happy to take on some extra work*.
*Extra work that involves a lot of things I love to do, baking, crafting, sewing and lots of excuses to get out of the house, meet up with other mammies and sometimes share a bottle of prosecco as we plan the festivities.