How important is Culture? I would say, very. It defines civilizations, nations, creeds and also individuals. Culture is a crucial entity that defines a person. It shapes one’s habits and carves one’s liking. Culture might be handed through lineage or might be just a choice. But it exists; through actions, food, clothes etc.
I have moved to Germany just 8 months back, and my stay so far has just strengthened this philosophy for me. Most of the German cultural events are usually celebrated in private for example Christmas or Easter. Though the Christmas markets are pretty beautiful, the 2 prominent days of Christmas are celebrated indoors when rest of Germany is a colder version of the Thar Desert.
I was proven wrong by the onset of spring. Spring and summer brings the sunny side out of these people. That brings me to the main topic of this blog post. The Karneval or the Carnival. It is primarily a community celebration popular in the Nordrhein Westphalia state of Germany. The significance and details of the Karneval are positively available on Google so if you feel too interested, look it up. I never have. So if you do look it up, do share it with me.
In a nutshell, the Karneval is a street parade, party and beer time for the natives of the state. What impressed me is the temporary and sudden change in the attitude of the people. The otherwise private Germans who would trash my camera if I point it at them, were extremely camera friendly and jovial.
I had an important exam to write in 3 days but I was not going to miss the Karneval. I went to Cologne on the Karneval Sunday and attended Rose Monday in Aachen itself. Just to be clear, I did clear my exam, though barely. Anyway to describe my experience in brief - Lots of bright coloured costumes were well complimented by the sunlight, which we were lucky to have. People were happy and merry with bottles, at times crates of beer roaming the streets of the city. Kids, which includes me, were excited to collect biscuits and chocolates that are distributed by the parade. The entire city was in a state of Chaos, of course a controlled chaos. They just don’t let anything out of control. It was first time in months I got close to feeling like in India. It was absolute fun.
The parade goes on for quite a while. It is full of horses, clowns, costumed groups etc. Lots of cameras were pointing at the parade as expected. So those pictures you could check on Google. I chose to differ and tried to look away from the parade and at the crowd. And trust me, the crowd never lets you down. So here are some off beat Karneval images which I hope you like and which help you get an idea of the things that go on around the parade and not just in the parade.
Some other pictures on my flickr page - www.flickr.com/abhishekdani
Camera: Nikon D7000 with Nikorr 18-55