Our society strives on preserving the German traditions of celebrating Karneval, known here as Mardi Gras and celebrated all over Europe
and the Americas. Throughout Germany, Bavaria to Bremen, east to west, Fasching, Fassenacht, Fastnacht or Karneval, also called the Fifth Season, is a time to forget about your everyday problems and enjoy lift to its fullest. Karneval dates back to festivals celebrated by the Romans and ancient Egyptians. The Roman Catholic Church assimilated these celebrations into the Christian calendar as the last festival before Lent. All major festivities are held in Catholic areas worldwide. In Germany, the oldest surviving records about Karneval are found in Köln dated March 5,1341.
During the Karneval season, Prinz Karneval is the rightful ruler of all and sovereign of joy. By his side are the Jungfrau and Bauer. The Junngfrau symbolizes Köln's inaccessibility to enemy forces because they never managed to break through the city walls. Due to an extremely heavy costume and the exertion during his reign, the Jungfrau is a man. The Bauer, a peasant, symbolizes the old free city's ability to defend itself. These three are better known as the Dreisgestirn. The Funkenmariechen date back to the 1700's, when they were members of the military and would dance to entertain the soldiers. A look at Karneval today shows that the traditions of centuries ago remain.