By Kayla J. Marsh
HOLMDEL – Before the Lenten season begins, children and adults alike in cities throughout Germany, Australia and Switzerland take in the days before Ash Wednesday and enjoy a big celebration of food, music, costumes and fun.
While not in Germany, students at the German Language School at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 112 Middletown Road, enjoyed an authentic German Karneval celebration Feb. 4 that was filled with many of the traditions experienced by those living in the country.
“Karneval has definitely expanded over the years,” Principal Michaela Greco said.
“It is a big celebration and people eat, drink, dance, celebrate and just have fun.”
Karneval, more commonly known as Fasching or Mardi Gras, has its roots in the Middle Ages and is celebrated throughout northern Europe.
The celebration officially begins on Nov. 11 at 11:11 a.m. and continues until the day before Ash Wednesday, with only a break for the Christmas holiday.
“The days are filled with huge parades, everybody dresses up … there’s festivities for everybody,” Greco said.
The German Language School event featured “Funkenmariechen” girls dressed up in red and white skirt uniforms performing traditional dances, children and adults dressing in a variety of costumes, singing songs and dancing and enjoying traditional treats including Krapfen, the equivalent of doughnuts.
This year’s Prince and Princess also “ruled” over their “subjects” for the duration of the Karneval.
“Every year we do something a little different, but it is about making it worthwhile to the students and engaging them in the different costumes, food and music,” Greco said. “It is not just about learning a language, but is about embracing the culture and traditions.
Founded in 2007 as the German School of Monmouth County and renamed the German Language School in 2015 with the addition of Rumson and Princeton campuses, the school offer a variety of classes for all ages and skill levels, and also offers tutoring, study abroad preparation, private lessons and test prep.
For more information visit www.njlearnsgerman.org.