Mainz Carnival

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Rosenmondnacht 2004, view from the Schillerplatz with carnival fountain, down the Ludwigsstraße to Mainz Cathedral
Rosenmondnacht 2004, view from the Schillerplatz with carnival fountain, down the Ludwigsstraße to Mainz Cathedral

[ source: Wikipedia]

The Mainz (Mainz vacation rentals | Mainz travel guide) Carnival (Mainzer Fastnacht,„Määnzer Fassenacht“ or „Meenzer Fassenacht“) is a months-long city-wide carnival celebration in Mainz, Germany that traditionally begins on 11 November but culminates in the days before Ash Wednesday in the spring. It is one of the largest carnival events in Germany and, along with the Cologne (Cologne vacation rentals | Cologne travel guide) and Düsseldorfer carnivals, Mainz is one of the three cities prominent in the Rheinish carnival tradition. Aside from the celebrations, parades, and jollity which are typical of carnival traditions in many countries, the Mainz carnival has an unusual emphasis on political and literary humor and commentary.

Traditionally, carnival season in Mainz begins on November 11 at 11:11, and continues through Ash Wednesday. However, the event peaks in February, in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday.

During the 19th century celebrants began using the carnival as an opportunity to mock the military forces occupying the city's fortress. The uniforms of the carnival guards are still reminders of the uniforms of the Austrian, Prussian, and French troops which were present in the town between 1792 and 1866. Others, like the Landsknecht uniform of the Weisenauer Burggrafengarde trace their lineage as far back as the middle-ages. Uniform parts of the electoral troops are also present. The guards, who spoof military habits and oaths, have a big role in the street carnival, making up large portions of the parades. The Mainzer Rosenmontagszug is the most renowned among the parades. It had been recorded since 1910 on film, and is often broadcast live nationwide. It is less formal than many parades, as celebrants can and often do join in to walk the parade route for a brief time. Marchers are often very informal about their roles, sometimes drinking beer as they ride parade floats.

Political commentary and caricature have become a notable part of the Mainz carnival, and especially of its parades. For example, floats during one parade in the late 1980s showed Uncle Sam and a Russian soldier climbing out of suits of armor, and portrayed Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in a bathtub.

The battle cry of the Mainz carnival, Helau, originates from Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf vacation rentals | Düsseldorf travel guide) and was introduced in 1938 in Mainz.

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Troughout Mainz City, Germany

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Related Links

Touristik Mainz - Official website

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