Farewell to the Flesh

Carne Vale!

Have I already mentioned that time is passing fast these days? Now the pre-Lenten Carnival in Germany – Fasching – has come to an end. Carnival, carne vale, literally farewell to the flesh, is your last chance to indulge the senses before Lent.  So you better do it up right before you have to abstain. So far this all makes sense, first comes the debauchery, then abstinence.

That’s what you think. On the last day of  Carnival, Faschingsdienstag, I walked into the local supermarket and saw the shelves had just been filled with a tantalizing array of chocolate Easter bunnies, chocolate Easter eggs, nest eggs, you name it. If it was edible, sweet and could be packaged as an Easter treat, it was on display. Now I’m sure the marketing experts don’t expect you are going to just look at these Easter goodies for the six weeks during Lent.

But what could you sell to help observe Lent? I guess the answer is nothing, so better just forget it’s Lent.  Don’t stop reading, this isn’t a rant about our money-oriented society and the decline of traditional values. And I would like to add that I am neither Catholic nor have I ever fasted during Lent. Bavaria is Catholic, though, and I was just pondering this apparent discrepancy.

I think Lent is a good idea because if we didn’t have Lent we wouldn’t have Fasching – which I really enjoyed this year. The last day of Fasching, Faschingsdienstag, was one of the first warmer days after a cold and snowy winter and masqueraded throngs crowded Munich’s center. Viktualienmarkt around noon was a great place for observing the great variety of costumes and later on we found a sunny spot in an outdoor café. Next year I might even wear a costume.

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