Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Every corruptible being, every contaminated soul

Today is Güdiszischtig (Good Tuesday). Known here as Mardis Gras, or Fat Tuesday, it is the final day of indulging in every vice and sin known to every corruptible being that carries the unnecessary worry of whether or not it's going to Heaven or Hell. I don't worry about such things. I worry more if my right knee will allow me to play tennis tomorrow night and what time should I go to the gym today. Oh, and what I'm going to make myself for dinner.

Fasnacht 2005 officially ends at dawn tomorrow morning, when the daylong-plus recovery begins for every contaminated soul who has been partying since dawn last Thursday. Godspeed to you. Two years ago I called it quits in time to catch the last shuttle back up to Nicole's apartment in Kriens, while she stayed on to make her final farewells to her then Fasnacht group, Rätsch-Häxe (Prattling Witches). I was simply tired (jet-lag still had its North American grip on me), bone cold, and unable to continue 'til sunrise. And I don't even drink alcohol. What a wimp.

We had sung and swayed, over and over, to a song by German music star, Udo Jürgens, called Griechischer Wein: a bittersweet, up-tempo song with moody regret-tinged lyrics about Greek wine and memories of love and days long past. It was a huge hit in Europe and remains a kitschy schläger classic even to this day.

Rätsch-Häxe had adopted the song as their Weinmarkt theme song and, I swear, everyone who wandered into its spell was immediately overcome with the need to join the dance line and sing along. It was terribly cathartic. I intuited what the words meant as they were already imprinting themselves into me the knowledge that I, too, would one day miss the woman I love and have only these memories by which to summon her into my heart.

Anyway, after being a member of Rätsch-Häxe for six years, Nicole had decided it was time to move on and create something new for Fasnacht. She and two other women members, Petra and Evelyn, formed Amphoria, which then merged with an already existing KUF group called Fangoria. They became Amphoria-Fangoria.

So it was at dawn she returned, tired and cold, looking beautiful in spite of her weary eyes and her drained akkus (batteries). She showered and slipped into our drachenbet and snuggled sweetly into sleep. We spent the day resting until mid-afternoon when we went to feed and ride her horse, Laurie. We would leave for her uncle's chalet in Ulrichen, up among the pristine Swiss Alps, the following afternoon for two utterly romantic days. Sigh.

Tonight, Güdiszischtig, revelers everywhere in the city are making their last stabs at karneval, but nowhere more earnestly than in the Old Town section. In Weinmarkt, the KUF groups are making their final stands, toasting the slow passing of another successful Fasnacht, while the Güggenmusig bands are nearly breaking windows with their brassy sonic hornblasts.

It has been fun watching from half a world away, from the comfort of my room, all the fond memories flooding back in images that will remain with me dearly for the rest of my life.

I hope to be there next year, to don my Drachenwächter costume once again and experience the rich tradition of what I believe is the best carnival on the planet. Nowhere else are the costumes and floats more creatively varied, more perfectly crafted and executed, more infused with the ancient blood of their honored Celtic ancestors than in Fasnacht Luzern.

Thanks for taking the time to take a peek via the FasnachtsPower webcams, when they were working properly, and for allowing me to prop open a small window to this excellent festival. And thank you Luzern, for another fabulous foray into your rich and beautiful culture. Sali & Adieu, Fasnacht. See you all again next year!

And to Nicole:
I hope your week was exceptionally wonderful.

Rüüdige Schöni Fasnacht!!!


Blogger Yibbyl parried...

Joseph, I just wanted to thank you for posting these photos and words over the last few days. I never would have heard of this festival and never would have gotten a glimpse, if it hadn't been for your efforts. It all was very interesting and the personal anecdotes you volunteered were quite touching as well. Well done, my friend.

February 08, 2005 7:43 PM  
Blogger joseph parried...

You are most welcome, Kurt! I'm glad someone has been enjoying this past week as I have, even if you've never been there or heard of it before. Thanks for taking the time to say so, my friend.

February 08, 2005 10:35 PM  
Blogger Kyle parried...

carnevale ... carnival ... removal of meat ... Don't know where I'm going with this, except that meat is pretty dead. ... Just wanted you to know I'm reading, Joseph! Thanks!

February 12, 2005 12:09 AM  
Blogger joseph parried...

Meat dead? Except when assimulated by living meat. Then it miraculously revivifies, sustains, and walks the Earth again.

Pass the A-1, will ya'? ;-)

February 12, 2005 11:13 AM  

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