It’s ‘die fünfte Jahreszeit’ (the 5th season) in Germany! Well. Technically. It’s over. It all started on the 11th of the 11th month 11:11 am on St Martin’s day, 2017. Since then our local witches, demons, and ghosts have been practicing their craft, celebrating their favorite time of year, even throwing big balls.

Most Americans know it better as Mardi Gras, Germans call it Karneval, Fasching and Fastnacht. It ends the day before Ash Wednesday (today!) with the biggest parades & celebrations on Sunday & Tuesday. The Tuesday parade, traditionally around here, is tamed down & best for kids. The last 4-5 years we’ve been going to the wild & crazy, NSFW parade in our neighboring city Weil der Stadt.

The story the witches in our town tell, is that the villagers dress up as witches/demons/ghosts to scare away the real witches/demons/ghosts to protect the people. By dressing up they fool the witches/demons/ghosts and they skip our village. I’m not sure I believe in witches/demons/ghosts, but I am okay with keeping them far away from me & mine… just in case.

Parades here are hands on. Literally. Hands. On. If you are young, pretty, inebriated, or just a short middle-aged woman, you will get picked on. Or picked up. Or picked up, spun, dropped, and rolled. There’s  nothing witches love more than grabbing a person from the crowd (and while young women are the most popular, it also happens to kids, guys, and older people, ahem), “sandwiching” the “volunteer” between two witches and rolling down the street.

Witches also love:

  • Liberally decorating volunteers with shoe black, flour, confetti or hay
  • Stealing hats, scarves, socks & shoe laces
  • Spinning volunteers in roving merry-go-rounds
  • Carting volunteers away in cargo nets
  • Hitting volunteers with blown-up, thankfully dried, pig bladders

Seriously, the fun never stops.

Any excuse to dress up is Tess’ favorite kind of event

Not Dane. But somebody’s child… carried away by a witch!

Baby “witches” are trained from birth.

It’s good to have friends in high places! We’re up out of harms way!

I couldn’t stay up high forever. Witches do love posing for the camera!

Some of the masks give me nightmares.

Each village has their own mask. Their own carver & painter.

The Alice Cooper roving band mobile was one of my favorites this year!

Jesters also creep me out.

This demon was shy… awwwwwwwwwww

The Weil der Stadt witches association “AHA” is the craziest. Period.

See! Not just women, guys get “rolled” too!

One of the few villages with men & women masks

Same village. A young male. With pigs bladder on a stick. Sigh.

The gypsies parade too.

Baby bear in training. Mama bear is supervising.

LOL! Dane got photo bombed!