Reading, PA 19606
Who says Germany doesn't have a Mardi Gras? It is Karneval, called Fasching in some regions, and it is another of the world's great celebrations.
Karneval, like most German festivals, has a long history and a deeper significance, having crossed the Alps from Italy in the Middle Ages. As with Mardi Gras, the main idea was to eat, drink and be merry before the fasting and abstinence of the holy season of Lent.
Germans embraced the pre-fasting festivities with the same vigor they do all such celebrations, but things finally got out of hand so that by the 16th century Karneval was reduced to one week, that which ends with Ash Wednesday.
It's a time when Germans take a break from the ordinary for a bit of singing, dancing and all-around craziness.