Karnival - Germany's Silly Season
The rambunctious revelry associated with Karnival – Germany's silly season – reaches its high-point in Mainz, Cologne and Düsseldorf, but it is also celebrated with wild parades and masked balls in many cities and villages throughout Hessen. The beginning of the Mardi Gras season (Fastnacht) traditionally starts on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, but the real merrymaking gets underway on the Thursday before Lent and culminates with the huge Rosenmontag parades on the Monday preceding Ash Wednesday. Fastnacht is a time when the rules and order of daily life are subverted, inspiring satirical plays, impertinent political speeches and generally excessive behavior. Watch the newspapers for listings.
Christmas Market in Michelstadt
It seems as if every city in Germany has its own Christmas market, but one of the most charming is in Michelstadt. It is here that the familiar smells, the cold air of the Odenwald and the welcome taste of Glühwein (mulled wine) are all accentuated by the cozy atmosphere of the town's half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets. The Odenwald is home to a colony of talented local artists and artisans who come to the market to display their wares. Endless rows of wooden stalls line the streets as visitors browse in an atmosphere of friendly hustle and bustle.
For an overview of Christmas markets throughout Germany, please visit the German Tourism Bureau's Website