Karneval (Rhineland), Fasching (Munich), Fassennacht
(Mainz), Fasnet southwestern Germany), Carnaval
(in Spanish) or Mardi Gras (Brazil) start in November.
In Germany it starts on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:11
a.m. and ends Ash Wednesday. This is a time of frolicking and
merry-making. The high point comes on the weekend (Saturday, Sunday,
Rose Monday and Shrove Tuesday) preceding Ash Wednesday, when
The terms Carnival (from Italian) and Mardi Gras (French: fat
Tuesday) both refer to a time of indulgence and merry-making.
This tradition dates back to mediaeval times, when kings, princes
and other rulers lived a time of esplendor, trying to outdo each
other with lavish feasts. The common people, looking for a good
time as well, established a mock government and chose a prince
and princess. Craftmen's guild organized carnival celebrations.
Court jesters brightened up the days. The time was filled with
parades, masquerade balls, comical skits, political satirical
speeches, and dancing in the streets. The time chosen was based
on the idea of merry-making before Lent, the time of fasting.
Carnival or Mardi Gras festivities have become established in
various cultures around the world. The most famous are those in
Cologne (Germany), Nice (France), Trinidad, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil),
New Orleans (U.S.A.) and, of course, Edmonton (Canada).