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Storm the town hall!

Storm the town hall!

Storming the town hall is part of the Carnival tradition in many parts of Germany, and this is what it looks like.

Sort of. Actually, an event like this normally attracts huge crowds, but our little village doesn’t normally make a big issue out of Carnival at all. This just has to be the smallest town-hall storming in the whole of Germany, although I am reliably involved that the town of Unna features Germany’s smallest Carnival procession, consisting of one man, a handcart and a plastic donkey.

Strictly speaking, tradition demands that this event takes place on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, but here it was a week early, the realities of modern life meaning that tradition sometimes comes a poor second. The reason, apparently, for this day being the one when the Carnival season really gets into full swing has to do with mediaeval Catholic liturgy: it was the last day before Lent that animals could be slaughtered for food. Friday was out, because meat was not eaten on that day; Sunday was also ruled out as it was the day of rest. And because in the Middle Ages Sunday was considered to begin at sunset the previous evening, this meant that Saturday was essentially a half day and there wasn’t enough time to get all the work done. Monday and Tuesday were theoretically possible, but since Lent began on the Wednesday, this would have meant a lot of meat left over which would spoil and go to waste.

All this information for your delight and edification, brought to you by hours of painstaking googling. You’re welcome.