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My memory is faulty.

Some events that happened a very long time ago are very vivid. While others in a past less distant are only vaguely there or even completely gone.

As it is carnival, I wanted to share some memories, only to realise that there are gaps.

The first seven years of my life were spent in the Rhine region, which is the place to be in Germany if you like Karneval, Conny Kaufmann’s guest post for my series Discovering Traditions is a must read if you want to know more about the Cologne Carnival.

I remember that once I was in the city of Cologne during the festivities, but the memory ends there. I was intimidated by how many people where in the streets. In the village where I lived there was an event including floats and candy, someone had thrown me a tasty coconut candy over the fence, why do I remember this? I have no idea.

All girls want to be princesses and every boy a knight in shining armour! My kindergarten had a carnival theme every year. One year it was the castle, or Burg, very fitting as the region has many castles. All girls showed up in store bought princess dresses, and all boys were nights, there might have been a king in the lot. My best friend, he decided to be the castle’s dog, so he went against the norm with his choice of costume. I dressed up as a Burgfräulein (a damsel or lady of the castle). Equipped with a pointy hat and and a long dress made of thick fabric, I felt as though I was an authentic inhabitant of one of the local castles. During a different year, I dressed up as the sun. My mom made me a beautiful dress of soft silky orange fabric. When I raised my arms I was round like the sun, on the hem of my dress there were the shadows of trees. On my head I wore a spiky crown a bit like the one of the Statue of Liberty. There is a photograph somewhere that helps with this memory, but I still recall the feeling of the fabric and how proud I was to be the sun. After all my first name translates as “sun path” or “sun way”. I don’t recall the other kindergarten costumes, there must have been two more.

When I started school I was no longer in a carnival crazy region, but that did not keep us from dressing up. One year I was Pippi Longstoking (there is a secret to how to keep the braids up in the air, all you need is a long piece of wire, that has to go from one extremity to the next). In second grade I was a witch with a crooked nose and a pointy hat, both handmade by my mother. The nose was from paper mache, and after a short time my breathing had made it all wet inside. I dressed up as the Red Zora from the book The Outsiders of Uskoken Castle, I had received the book for christmas and looking back I think it might have sparked my interest in reading. The other costumes that I wore while living in Germany have completely slipped my mind, faulty memory is all I can say.

After a few years of no longer dressing up, but baking a New Orlean’s style King Cake for French class, and thinking that carnival is for little kids only, I ended up dressing up as a Moulin Rouge dancer from the turn of the century in my last year of high school. I recall that there were three people who dressed up as cigarettes.

What are your Carnival memories? Do you dress up? If so, what have been your favourite costumes? Are you doing something special this year?

Enjoy your Pancakes, crèpes, donuts, Berliner, Krapfen, Fassenachtsküchle, King Cakes, candy or what ever you might consume these days.

© Solveig Werner 2016. All rights reserved.