I went to my first German parade a little over a month ago for Karneval/Fastnacht/Fasching (Mardi Gras). It was definitely an experience.
I had been disappointed previously at Halloween and how half heartedly the Germans celebrated. I get really excited about costumes and face paint. The Verlobter reassured me that Fastnacht would be better, and he definitely was right. I got the opportunity to dress up twice!
The second look is what I wore to the parade near us. My little litigious American brain was freaking out when it got started.
In general, streets are wider where I’m from. During smaller, local parades, families were content to sit or stand (but usually sit) on the sidewalks, and the children would be allowed rush into the street to get candy only after everything motorized had passed. Larger parades downtown had barriers keeping everyone a safe distance away. A German parade on the other hand:
There was a parade worker assigned to each vehicle who attempted to push back the crowd, but they were woefully ineffective. There was a group of 10 – 11 year old boys who wormed their way in front of us, and my mother-in-law and sister-in-law kept pulling them back so their feet wouldn’t get run over.
Where was the Ordnung?
At one point, a young couple with their small child were directly in front of the Verlobter and me. Any time candy was thrown, they’d scrambled to pick up as much as they could for their little germ factory. The man apparently never learned that you should bend your damn knees when you reach for the ground and kept hitting me with his arsch. The Verlobter and I switched spots to protect me from this indignity. He ended up in front of me again.
At one point the whole section got squished together and I was jammed between butt-man and a bench. Being a passive-aggressive American, I yelled, “EXCUUUUUUUUSE ME.” Then I remembered what country I was in and followed up with, “ENTSCHUUUUUUUULDIGUNG!” Nothing, still stuck against the bench. So, I shoved him a bit. Finally he turned around with an apologetic look and gave me some personal space. And was back two minutes later with his butt in the air snatching 5¢ bonbons for his toddler.