Carnival Season Underway (Neckties Strongly Discouraged)
Update: Another facet of the Carnival season is Weiberfastnacht, or the Women's Carnival. It's a German thing: six days before Ash Wednesday, ladies roam the streets, snipping off guys' ties and kissing them. Sounds good to me, but what if you don't want to lose the noose? You could seek refuge in an airplane... or not.
url="http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23140295-663,00.html"]A GERMAN airline is to warn passengers, particularly men, about the dangers of landing at airports on the Rhine today, when women cut men's ties off and then give them a kiss.
Lufthansa said it would make announcements to people flying into Cologne, Bonn and Dusseldorf to prepare them for potentially traumatic encounters on arrival at airports and later in cities as part of the Weiberfastnacht carnival.
One year a Japanese man whose tie was cut off soon after arriving was so shocked he promptly booked a return flight to Japan.[/q] There may well be more to Weiberfastnacht to it than that, but an admittedly cursory investigation has shown me gleeful mayhem in the streets. Is that so wrong?
Carnival is celebrated everywhere that Lent is observed, though, through the popularity of the festivities in Rio de Janeiro and Mardi Gras in New Orleans, these festivals have become creatures unto themselves. Though Mardi Gras does not begin until the weekend, preparation has been underway for some time now, and, around the world, the partying as already started...
From Bavaria to Brazil, revelers celebrated the beginning of the Carnival season over the weekend. They rattled cowbells, donned decadent costumes and marched in massive parades to kick off festivities that will stretch until Feb. 6.
Mardi Gras, Fasching, Carnival. No matter what you call it, the party season leading up to Lent -- forty days that Catholics traditionally spend fasting in preparation for Easter -- has given rise to some of the best parties and wackiest traditions in the world.This year Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, is on Feb. 6; in the 10 days between then and now, Carnival-goers will pursue all manner of debaucherous fun from Bavaria to Brazil. Carnival season kicked into high gear last weekend, as revelers in Europe and the Americas dusted off their decadent costumes and danced in massive parades.
In Venice, a Carnival tradition that includes Victorian gowns and hauntingly emotionless paper maché masks has enjoyed a zealous revival since the 1980s.
Across the Atlantic Ocean and the Equator, Brazil kicked off the world's largest Carnival party. Despite heavy rain on Sunday in Rio de Janiero, 20,000 Brazilians and tourists turned out to march, dance, sing -- and drink. The Brazilian government seems well prepared for the frenzy of partying -- they plan to distribute 19.5 million condoms between now and Ash Wednesday.
For most revelers, the Mardi Gras season lasts for no more than the few days in which they attend parades, and perhaps a ball or two. But for the krewes behind the festivities, the spirit of Carnivale is alive throughout the year.
"The preparation really begins right after Mardi Gras ends," said Cherie Kraft, chairperson of the ladies' committee of the Greater Southwest Mardi Gras Association. "There's no letting up."
Originating in the fourth century of the church, the season of Lent spans 40 weekdays beginning on Ash Wednesday and climaxing during Holy Week with Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), Good Friday, and concluding Saturday before Easter. Originally, Lent was the time of preparation for those who were to be baptized, a time of concentrated study and prayer before their baptism at the Easter Vigil, the celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord early on Easter Sunday. But since these new members were to be received into a living community of Faith, the entire community was called to preparation. Also, this was the time when those who had been separated from the Church would prepare to rejoin the community.
Update: One Brazilian city is taking that last paragraph to heart...
Recife is distributing comntraceptive pills to women during the course
of Carnival, much to the Catholic Church's dismay:[q
municipality says its aim is to "guarantee the sexual and reproductive
rights of women who have been victims of sexual violence or who have
had a failure of contraceptive methods."
Morning-after pills must be used within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse. They work by blocking fertilization.
According to the newspaper Pernambuco, the archbishop at the center
of the storm, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, is not prepared to back down on
the issue, and had threatened excommunication to any church-goers who
use the pill.[/q]