Whoever thinks Germans are serious and have no sense of humor obviously hasn’t been to the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart.
This was only my second carnival parade in Germany, but I was surprised at how different it was than my first Carnival Parade in Grosselfingen, a small village only an hour from Stuttgart.
The carnival parade procession consists of just over 2000 participants and they all seemed very jovial, which was different than many of the solemn faced participants in the Carnival Parade in Grosselfingen (except for the drunk guys). I was also pleased to see a lot of female participants in the carnival parade as there wasn’t a single one in the Grosselfingen Carnival Parade.
The costumes were also completely different than the costumes seen in the Carnival Parade in Grosselfinfen. While I really enjoyed the wide variety of costumes seen in the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart, my favorite costume was from the Carnival Parade in Grosselfingen, shown on the left. How can you beat towering multi-colored flowers?
I loved the many masks seen at the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart. Normally the masks are scary looking meant to scare away winter, but most of the masks I saw were very happy. Perhaps they are taking ng a “killing them with kindness” approach to winter? Either way, the masks were my favorite part of the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart. I will be writing more about the masks in an upcoming post.
The Carnival Parade in Stuttgart is big, but by no means the largest in Germany, so I was surprised to see that there were not that many floats, the one below was the most elaborate, and it was a treat with people swinging from it, but the rest were very simply done. Most of the Carnival Parade consisted of people dressed up, walking, which while still interesting, is different than what I’m used to in Canada, where the floats are the stars of the parade.
There were also lots of bands, which you also see in parades in Canada. I enjoyed the eclectic music selections ranging from everything to traditional carnival songs to “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. It definitely got the 200,000+ specatators if not in a dancing mood, then in a swaying mood.
Politcal statements are more popular in the larger parades along the Rhein, such as in Cologne or in Mainz. My Swabish friends proudly tell me that is one reason why carnival is better in the state of Baden-Württemberg. There were only 2 political references (that I saw) in the carnival parade in Stuttgart, but the one was a rather low blow with the Governor of Baden-Württemberg telling the mayor of Stuttgart that they deal with protesters of Stuttgart 21 Project ( a major railway project that has been sparked with controversy and protestors)by pepper spraying them – a reference to an event that happened several months ago with tens of thousands of protesters which left one man blind.
Interesting there was also anothercontroversy in the Carnival Parade. Can you guess what it is by the photo on the left?
Stuttgart is headquarters to Mercedes and Porsche, both of which have large prominent museums in Stuttgart and Germans are very proud of German cars. There was a collective gasp of horror among us as people saw the offending Jeep. My Russian friend and I burst out laughing at the “controversy.”
I was pleased to see one of my favorite museums in Stuttgart make an appearance, the Pig Museum! When I later asked J.P. why there was no float for either the Mercedes Museum or Porsche Museum, his response was “Because everybody knows about those museums, nobody knows about the Pig Museum. Hopefully participating in the Carnival Parade resulted in a few more admissions. It was kind of hard to miss a gigantic pig!
While there were many differences between the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart and in Grosselfingen. One thing was the same, there were a few crazy people drinking, but to be fair the participants in the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart were only drinking beer. In the photo below, the girl on the right holding a microphone, drinking a beer was actually a reporter and drinking beer between takes. Too funny!
And lastly, if you read my First Impressions of a Carnival Parade in Germany post, you may remember that I was feeling very sorry for German children, who were being given buns, pretzels and sausages with only the smallest quantities of candy being handed out. I am happy to report that children at the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart scored big time! So much candy was being thrown out that we were getting pelted with it. I even managed to score a few pieces!
What are your impressions of carnival?