By Kai Pfaffenbach
We Germans (at least most of us) seem to be well organized, diligent, reliable, politically correct and ready to help, even with our money. But there is one thing we Germans are prejudiced for – our lack of humor.
It looks like for that reason “Carnival” was invented.
Okay, that’s not true. About 600 years ago, people started big celebrations for the last days before Ash Wednesday and the end of the Christian period of fasting. To get better control of those festivities authorities “organized” Carnival. Over the years it became more and more popular to wear funny costumes.
As people behind masks cannot be easily recognized, the “Political Carnival” was invented and in the city of Mainz (the capital of Germany’s state of Rhineland Palatinate) the Rose Monday parade was used to disparage politicians since 1843.
This part of the Rose Monday parade still seems to have the same creative people building big carnival floats depicting our politicians. The absolute highlight of this year’s parade in Mainz was a huge papier-mache figure showing German President Christian Wulff hanging in the ropes of a ring as a shattered boxer.
For more than two months Wulff was under heavy criticism in German media for his (too) close contacts to business people and as state prosecutors announced official investigations, he stepped down last Friday. The builders of the carnival float reacted extremely fast and the (former) President was simply “knocked out” instead of “only” being shattered beforehand.