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Have you heard of Karneval?

Did you ever make it into the news while you were overseas? I did, on the page dedicated to a festival that left me confused about German culture for years 🤔 


It was in the first months of my stay in Essen in 2018. Before my internship at innogy SE, a former subsidiary of RWE, the University Duisburg Essen offered me an intercultural program. The event was not on their agenda, but having become friends with the guide, I received a personal invite to it. I still remember the advice from my boss, Gordon Dreyer: Whatever you wear to the event, do not wear a tie! Because if I did, a woman was bound to cut it off 👔✂ 


That event is Weiberfastnacht (Women´s carneval day). The day started with me dressing as a unicorn, and ended with me dancing as one. And in between was a performed "protest" between the town mayor on his balcony and local female representatives on the street below. The women, continuing the ritual since the 1800s, were tired of the labour they needed to perform for the city and demanded to overtake the government for a day. After back-and-forth bantering, the key to the city was handed over, everyone went inside and we danced 🕺 


For years, I did not understand the drastic contrast between this hard-partying event and the hard-working reputation that Germany enjoys worldwide. In the video "Was ist eigentlich deutsch?" from Ranga Yogeshwar, a German-Brussels ambassador makes an insightful statement: "Germany is, in a certain way, a radical folk... because we have the tendency to want to make everything perfect, we either want it to make really good or really bad" 💯 


When it comes to carnival, the event is always "really good"❗ And the one in Brisbane starts in just 4 weeks, by Brisbane German Week. If you can come, then come (preferably) dressed. Experience a side to Germany that will leave you wanting more 🤡 





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