Germany has a lot of Feiertage (bank holidays) in the calendar. It sometimes feels like I don't ever teach a whole week in the school because there are so many Thursdays/Fridays off. Before you get too jealous, they have a much shorter summer break, so it all evens out in the end.

What tradition did I learn about?:

One of the most fun holidays is called Karneval. Think of Halloween and 4th of July mixed into one big holiday and lasting about a week. Now you can start to imagine going to Karneval in Germany. It happens every year in February and the biggest celebration can be found in Köln (Cologne) and the second biggest in Mainz. Karneval officially starts with an opening celebration on November 11th at 11:11am. It then takes a break until the week long street festival in February. During this week you can attend parades, balls and stage shows. The biggest parade is on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday), which is always two days before Aschermittwoch (Ash Wednesday). During this week, everyone goes into the city masquerading in costumes to attend the various events. A typical greeting you might hear being shouted around during Köln's celebration is "Kölle Alaaf!," which means "Köln over everything!" in their local dialect.