Mardi Gras. New Orleans. Partying. Drinking. Flashing. Boobs. CHAOS!
Let me start by saying that I have never been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, so I have no idea what actually goes on there. But thanks to Joe Francis and his Girls Gone Wild commercials, what I think of when I hear the words Mardi Gras is women flashing their boobs to total strangers for some chincy beads. The alternative?
Karneval. Rio de Janeiro. Partying. Drinking. Half naked women dancing in fancy costumes on fancy floats. CHAOS!
Is Mardi Gras/Karneval only about drinking, nudity, and chaos. No, naturally not. But it would be easy to form that assumption based on what you see on TV. But wait, there is another alternative, Fasching!
Fasching. German Karneval. The Germans even call it Karneval here as well, especially in Cologne. The problem that I could have fallen into when I heard about Fasching, and that it is basically the same as Karneval and Mardi Gras, would have been to assume that it was nothing but drinking, nudity and chaos. Luckily I did not automatically assume that, and was rewarded by discovering what I think is a good mix of partying and family fun.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of drinking that goes on during Fasching, and there is even some chaos brought on by some fools who chose to party a little too hard. But all in all, Fasching is a generally good time where adults are able to have a few drinks while the kids get to enjoy the festivities. For example, we went to a parade in our neighboring town where the kids were the parade, and the towns people lined the sides of the street and threw candy to the kids. Once at the end of the street, everybody gathered in the community center where the local kids’ dance troupes put on a show, kids played, and we had a couple of beers. Then Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) was a big family event that included my Father-in-law, Sister-in-law, and Brother-in-law. We went to a parade in Trier where, despite the cold and snow, we had a few beers and enjoyed ourselves while our son had a great time chasing down candy. That’s what I love about Germany, the fact that chilling with the kids and having a beer do not have to be separate occasions.
Why is it that in America, having a beer at a public function is an “adult” activity that must be shielded from kids? I know it’s not that way everywhere, but many places it is. Here in Germany, a Biergarten (Beer Garden) just happens to be a nice patio area outside of a restaurant, not a prison for beer drinkers. The ability to mix families and alcohol in public settings without drama somehow eludes Americans. Is it necessary for me to have a beer when I am chilling with my kid? No. But it is nice that here I get to make that decision for myself.
What exactly does all of this have to do with boobs at Mardi Gras? Nothing directly. The boobs were actually just used to illustrate a fundamental difference between America and Germany and MY OPINION that the Germans are much better at having a good time without getting out of hand.
(Disclaimer: I did NOT put boobs in the title of this post just to generate views, I swear.)