Sunday, 14 February 2010


We really miss out on some fun in the UK. Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday just doesn't compare with Mardi Gras or its German equivalents Karneval - Fastnacht - Fasching. I've just had an email reminder from that this time is also known as die fünfte Jahreszeit and also die tollen Tage. This is a period for dressing up and celebrating in the street, particularly in the cities along the Rhine. Dressing up sounds a bit silly, and there's certainly plenty of silliness and drinking. hits the mood exactly right when they say: Die Welt steht auf dem Kopf und ein paar Tage lang ist alles erlaubt.

"People dress up" also seems a weak translation of die Leute verkleiden sich and I miss the word used in Shetland that offers a more precise description - "guizing" - same root as "disguise". Guizing in Lerwick involves about 800 men dressing up and processing through the streets before burning a full size replica Viking longship at the end of January each year and Up Helly Aa has to be the nearest British equivalent to Karneval.

Click here for the audio slide show illustrated above. It has slow speech and lots of pictures and various aids to understanding, including exercises to test comprehension and vocabulary.

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