Your German word of the day is Rosenmontag (Rose Monday). Each of the two words are easy to understand, but I cannot explain the combination. It's the Monday before Ash Wednesday, the biggest day of the Carnival (Fasching) season. I don't know where the rose came in, because it's winter: roses don't grow at this time of year. When Fasching started, hundreds of years ago, no one had thought about flying them in from Kenya and the Dutch were still speculating on tulips. I can't be bothered to do research.
The main centers of Fasching, Dusseldorf, Cologne, and Mainz, have huge parades on this day. National television broadcast hours of their colorful, loud, and...boring progression. Often it is raining and cold; today it is only cold. There are marching bands, dancing groups, and floats carrying some form of political message, ie. attacking politicians. People riding on the floats throw trinkets and candy to the crowd. Dentists everywhere look forward to continued income.
Fasching compels every person in the region--even normally staid foreigners-- to have "fun", defined as dressing in a silly costume and acting foolishly. On Wednesday, seriousness will return and all transgression will be forgotten.
As a special treat on this special day, I will share with you the only moment caught on film of the Fool-on-the-Hill dancing. The situation explains the transgression: he was in a Fasching costume. He was not on a hill, so the outlook was limited. It was well-past sundown. He was at the bottom of some of the best vineyards in Germany. Wine consumption may have played a role. If your friend makes wine, you at least have to try the stuff. And, if the cellar is full of oak casks, it's hard to run out of the stuff.
As they constantly scream during this time of year, Helau.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.