We just returned from the kids Fasching celebration in the next town down the road. Fasching is Germany’s carnival season. It starts on the 11th day of November at exactly 11minutes after 11am and ends at the stroke of midnight on Shroud Tuesday – or Fat Tuesday (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday). With Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, coming up, this past week has been filled with parties at school, at the town halls, and in the local bars.

For the Germans this is their time to dress-up and let their hair down. My kids are more than ecstatic to drag out the Halloween costumes and join in. Dane especially loves this, but Tess has been pretty excited to pull out her vampire costume again. Today we managed two parties in one day, thankfully with my beautiful German friend, Karin. Not so much because I can’t do these on my own, but because I’d never have the insight to some of the customs that she freely shares.

Our part of Germany is Schwabian, and a lot of the customs here are specific to our region of Germany. This includes many of the costumes we saw today. Heavy felt scalloped pants in the traditional blue & white. Witches costumes on both men & women with full skirts and traditional, embroidered bloomers, and, of course the narren, the jesters. The witches also wear shoes, they look like coiled, woven ropes, that are customary to the Schwabians.

I still have a lot to learn, despite spending an afternoon listening to Karin. Dane, however, is very clear on what to do and as soon as we hit party number one he yodeled out “Narri!” and the other kids yodeled back “Narro!” All I know is that it is a traditional Fasching greeting, but exactly why? I’m not sure.