Fasching, the German version of Carnival, is celebrated most exuberantly in Cologne, Mainz, and other cities especially in the south western portion of the country. At first (as Americans) we noticed Halloween costumes for sale in stores all over. Then after an educational brunch with some German friends we learned about Fasching.
Fasching preparations and planning officially begin on November 11 at 11:11am. Fasching parties begin in the beginning of January, but the real celebration, festivities, parades and events begin the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. Events are held for all ages with children's activities and parades, adult parties, and of course the parades.
Last Sunday we attended the parade in Frankfurt and immersed ourselves in our new surroundings, including the yelling of "Hello!" at the parade participants who yelled back. A very new experience with lots of interesting costumes and traditions. There were people everywhere. Great people watching and picture taking!