MUNICH –(MunichNOW Life)– It is the homestretch of the time known here as Fasching (Carnival), its original reasons and meaning lost long ago. There was some Christian religion mixed in the celebrations of yesteryear, and afterwards you had to give up alcohol, meat, chocolate and sex for Lent.
Basically be a devout Christian for 40 days. Today the religion component of Fasching is a bit different, it is one when the altar of worship has been replaced by a worship of selfies upon the altar of Instagram®. The one thing which has remained for the festival is the costumes, which are gaudy, garish, but sometimes kitschy. So German.
Unlike the rest of the world, the Germans need a reason (like a rule) to get plastered and Fasching does just that. It is as if Oktoberfest, Starkbierfest (Strong Beer Festival), and the countless other fests do not offer ample time to tipple. Or, maybe the Germans tire of drinking beer and at Fasching mixed drinks are more prevalent. This year’s Fasching is early (the religion thing), and cold, so the biggest problem might be exposure to the elixirs and elements.
There are a couple of other things which remind the mid-winter working public, as they mope to their jobs in the grey light of morning, that it is Fasching. There are over-priced under-tasting sweet dough puffs the locals call Krapfen, though I think crap would be a better name for them. They run you about the same as a Bratwurst does from a few joints I know in the city. They can be €2 ($2.50) or more! I can get a baker’s dozen at Krispy Kreme® for about €7, and they taste infinitely better with much more of the treasure in the center.
Back to the Bacchanalia which is happening at Viktualien Markt. The revelers usually consist of three main groups. There are singles, couples without children, and empty nesters. There might be a fourth group which actually watches the local dance troupes, comedians, actors and musicians, but they have not been heard from since before Merkel, and seen since Kohl. The music is a mix of Bryan Adams, Abba, and any other song you can think of in that vein, with enough contemporary pop music to keep most of the people I know away.
If the music does not do it, the prices might. All of that security does not come cheap! But like the other festivals which can dent your wallet before sunset, it is best to get dressed, have fun (I have no idea how), and join the other partygoers getting pissed
You can find me there this Tuesday between 11 am and 1 pm, before the hordes who have been given the last half of the day off to get absolutely sloshed arrive, and the sun gives up completely to the clouds. I will be standing in the sun, somewhere in the sun, or next to a heater, with a nice view of the Maibaum, Alter Peter on the left of my view. It is for research purposes, I can assure you, only research.