OMFG (O Mein Faschings Gott) / by mrm

I think I have to admit to a certain naïveté in my expectations for Fasching. But unlike, say, the Oktoberfest, I had never heard of it before I came to Germany, and so in perfect honesty and wide-eyed wonder I did expect something like a folk festival. The idea of Fasching (so I have been told) is to "drive out the winter." Pagan stuff, merged in weird ways with Catholicism, so that all Faschings parties are supposed to end at the stroke of midnight; otherwise, Jesus turns everyone into a pumpkin for Lent.

So, on Faschingsdienstag (Shrove Tuesday), which is the final, maddest day of them all, I went to the Viktualienmarkt, reputed to be the hub of Faschings action. If the Oktoberfest was the ultimate expression of kitsch, then I think Fasching must be the transcendent embodiment of tackiness. Really loud, really trashy popped-up versions of unexpected songs attacked from all sides. It was snowing steadily, but everyone was there, drinking beer at noon under umbrellas. Most costumes were of the 5-things-that-don't-go-together-suddenly-together! variety. Neon was dominant. The next most popular costume was "Indians" in the style of Hollywood's Golden Age (of Ignorance and Cultural Appropriation). I also saw two men in blackface. (question mark, exclamation mark, question mark, shock). Then, unlike most of Munich, I went to work.