Early start for "Karneval"
It still takes special dispensation by the authorities to open the season before the 11th of November; but this rule was always followed in Germany and we are in a different country under different circumstances. So we adapt!
Why the date: 11 November? Did it have anything to do with the fact that at 11:00 a.m., on the 11th of November 1918, the hostilities ceased on the Western Front - that World War I was over? That the carnage had finally ended and it was now time to have fun again? My extensive research in the German Karneval sites only said "Officially it starts am elften, elften elf Uhr elf (11th November at 11:11 a.m.), and continues in a fairly low-key way for about three months before the Tolle Tage (Crazy Days) which climax on Rosenmontag, the 42nd day before Easter." They also mention that it is traditionally seen as a chance for people to go wild and let their hair down before Lent starts on Ash Wednesday – the serious time for fasting before Easter. But we all know that anyway!
The first written record of the Köln carnival is from the year 1341. So, I do not know if there is a connection to the end of WW I. or when the number 11 became significant.
Anyway, "11" is a key number in carnival (Elferrat etc.) and the existence of carnival societies is especially celebrated in multiples of 11. Witness the 44th celebration of the Narrhalla ’58 not too long ago in Hamilton.
This year we had the youngest of our local carnival societies, the KG Ascendia, Hamilton, open the 2004/2005 season at the Continental Austrian Club in Burlington, on the 6th of November! And they opened with a full house to boot – or almost full.
Finally the carnivalists that had to suffer through the long summer were able to enjoy their beloved carnival again. And most of them had come or sent representatives.
The KG’s ‘Treue Husaren’ from Toronto and Mississauga; KG ‘Hansa’, Brampton; KG ‘Narrenzunft’, Kitchener; KG ‘Narragonia’, Brantford; KG ‘Blau-Weiß’, Sarnia; KG ‘Germania Downriver’, Detroit; and the KG ‘Ontario Prinzengarde’ were all represented. After the traditional "Einmarsch" at 8:11 p.m. – the marching in of the participants - Armin Hellmann, the president of the BDKK (German-Canadian Mardi Gras Association) officially opened the festivities at about 8:13 p.m.
Cornel Brüggemann, Ascendia’s president welcomed the audience and introduced the VIP’s and visiting "Royalty". Unfortunately Ascendia’s own royal couple could not attend since Prince Martin had another important engagement that evening.
But Sarnia had sent Her Loveliness Princes Elisabeth and her consort Manfred Groening, Kitchener had sent Prince Richard I. and Princess Kerstin I. while Detroit was present with Prince Peter II. and Princess Denise II. So there was plenty of "Royal" representation to add glamour to the success of this occasion.
This is traditionally a very special part of the inauguration of a carnival society.
course there was marvellous entertainment. The dance guard of the
Mississauga Treue Husaren Juniors and Seniors presented a very accomplished
set of guard-dances, followed by the Blau-Weiß Garde from Sarnia with the "Sarnia
Showstoppers" and a Caribbean Dance Group with modern show dances, that were
vigorously applauded by the audience. After the band played dance music for
both Mississauga and Sarnia guards performed once more. Sarnia and
Missisauga then performed a very accomplished ‘Funkenmariechen’ Solo Dances.
Very well done, girls!
Since I could not attend that event, David Simon was kind enough to send me his impressions of the evening. Here it is:
Photos by Albert & Helga Koch
Becoming a tradition now in Hamilton the GKG Narrhalla 58 held it's fourth annual Kappenabend on Friday November 12th. The small hall was packed with the new tables allowing the Narrhalla to fit more revellers into the same space. It was really ‘gemütlich’.
Entertainment like in the years past comes from the people themselves, and they came well prepared this year with jokes, Barrel speeches in both German and English, and general good humour.
Hugh, Albert and David performed a small funny skit called toilet manners.
Walter Schmitz from the Treuer Husar Mississauga entertained us with funny stories in his dry Koelsche dialect, and then played a couple of his comedy recorded telephone conversations. Super entertainment all around! Each person that told a joke or entertained was awarded a string of Mardi Gras beads, to fit with the New Orleans theme to the Narrhalla's upcoming Maskenball in February. During the evening everyone was given a Kappenabend novelty 'medal'.
What is a Karneval function without great food and drink?
Food and drink were provided by Paul and Heidi's restaurant including the
Karneval favourite "Tartar". Our thanks to the Koch’s from the Narrenzunft
for sending us photos of the event!
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