Tuesday, February 28, 2017

German Carnival 2017 is back with a vengeance

German jesters take on kings for 2017 Carnival

Donald Trump despoiling liberty

The image of President Trump abusing a symbol of America proved to be hit with this year's crowd. Risqué political messages are a point of pride for Düsseldorf, especially if it is something that their rivals in Cologne would not be able to top.

German Carnival is back with a vengeance, ridiculing the likes of Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, and Angela Merkel. Following a turbulent year, Germans seem to be especially eager to slaughter some sacred cows.

Schoolboy Donald

Cologne's response was Trump reaching under the skirt of Lady Liberty and dragging his opponent Hillary Clinton by the hair. Russia's Vladimir Putin looks on approvingly.

Carnival is the time when Germans finally let loose and poke fun at themselves and others, mercilessly mocking world leaders with massive parade floats. This year, the jesters took aim at the up-and-coming right-wingers.

Bye, Britannia

Organizers in Mainz claim that their Monday parade was the longest ever made, featuring 154 floats and spanning for nine kilometers (5.6 miles). One of the floats featured British Prime Minister Theresa May piloting the UK lifeboat after leaving the EU.

Donald Trump took central stage for the Rosenmontag celebration, followed by many other controversial figures, from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and European populist leaders Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders, to Germany's very own Angela Merkel.

Blonds have more fun

'Blond is the new brown,' reads the banner carried through the streets of Düsseldorf by the figures of Donald Trump, French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, Dutch firebrand nationalist Geert Wilders, and Adolf Hitler. Germans associate the color brown with fascism since the days of Hitler's brownshirts.

Laugh at your own risk

Another touchy subject – Turkey's Erdogan demanded an apology and sued German comedian Jan Böhmermann for a vulgar poem about him last year. The writing on the hat is also a play on words, loosely translated as "Erdogone.'

The parades are a part of Carnival celebrations and remain very popular in the traditionally Catholic areas of Germany. Cities along the Rhine, like Cologne, Mainz, and Düsseldorf are particularly proud of their Rosenmontag (Shrove Monday) traditions and always try to outdo each other with their Carnival blow-out.

UK feeling lucky

Düsseldorfers also considered the outlook of Britain triggering its exit from the EU.

AFD all the way

A float in Cologne took on the populist AFD party which successfully rode the wave of displeasure with Angela Merkel's refugee policy. "Too much anger in your gut and democracy will go to the butt," the writing says, using a German idiom for things going badly.

Acting the fool

The AfD was also in the crosshairs elsewhere, with this float in Düsseldorf mocking the party for spurring on hatred against Muslims and labeling them 'useful idiots' of terror groups.

A mammoth task

With German elections coming up, the mammoth that is Angela Merkel just might be slain by the agile left-leaning rival Martin Schulz. The sign on the mammoth's flank is also play on Merkel's nickname "Mutti," meaning mommy in German.