Aschermittwoch… a day you might also know as the day of giving up something for lent. When I first came to Ireland I had no idea what lent meant. It only came into a conversation when I started working in my current job almost eight years ago. Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday which this year is on April 13th, the day before Good Friday. Lent stands for “spring”. “The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.” I am not religious in any way but it was quite interesting researching this and see what it means.
After recovering from Shrove Tueday aka Pancake Tuesday, consuming a huge amount of pancakes, on Aschermittwoch you are supposed to fast. But only on this day. Good Friday is another day to fast. Today you are not supposed to eat any meat and that applies for any Friday and Good Friday. Very strict isn’t it? People like giving up things for fun during this time. I heard people saying they are giving up Facebook, or simply giving up chocolate/sweets. Personally I would find that very hard. Both things I am relying on. I do need my chocolate fix once a day.
In Germany it all works a bit different. We call it Karneval/Fasching. It is being celebrated from the minute it turns 11:11.am on the 11th November. It’s most popular in the Western part of Germany than where I grew up. (North East). Basically on Monday which is called Rosenmontag or Shrove Monday, the most famous Karneval takes place in Cologne. It’s a festival throughout the streets which can be seen live on TV as well. It’s kind of like St. Patrick’s Day, just a different occasion. People shout “Helau” or “Kölle alaaf.
Everyone dresses up in funny gowns or costumes. In schools and creche’s it’s also very popular to dress up for Fasching (another word for Carnival). Looking back to my kindergarten and school days, I remember dressing up as a ladybird, a cat or a butterfly. Those were the days. (I feel old!) Makeup is a big thing as well. Some people go over the top. But I do remember the little kind of crayon looking pens and m y mum drawing something on my face like it was only yesterday.
One of the most famous sweet delights during this time are Krapfen. We call them Berliner in our region. They are jam filled donuts and available in all sorts of colours and flavours.
Are you planning to give up anything for lent?