Akron German Family Society

Akron German Family Society

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fasching "Mardi Gras" comes to Akron German Family Society.... Sat. Feb 21th 2015

“Mardi Gras”

The Akron German Family Society looks forward to bringing Fasching, also known as Karneval, or Mardi Gras, to our club on February 21 at 6:00pm. Wear your Fasching and Mardi Gras costumes and masks to join the fun. Spass Band will play music and entertain for your enjoyment and dancing. Dinner will be served at 6:30pm including specialties of this special Mardi Gras-themed event. We request that you make reservations prior to Monday, February 16 by calling Renate at 330-633-3949 or Eva at 330-335-8985. If you make reservations and are unable to attend, please call to cancel so that it may be filled by someone who would like to attend.

Fasching is the German version of Mardi Gras. It’s a time to celebrate in a crazy way, before you straighten up for Lent. We bring back the "Fasching", after several years, as it was remembered by many as a fun time wearing funny, unique, and spirited costumes!

Ladies of Gisela...Do you recognize any faces?   (right)
**Feb. 1974, this was the 1st Fasching held at the current GFS in Brimfield, Oh.

There will be prizes for best costumes for men, women, and one for couples. Fasching has historically been one of our best attended events, and the large crowd makes the fun-filled festivities great.  You may have heard that if you were ever in Germany during Fasching, you would see that New Orleans has nothing on Germany. Come and celebrate our Fasching and see what fun and craziness the Akron German Family Society members deliver. Don't forget to wear a costume. You could win a prize…. don't be a party pooper now... :)

 Konrad Pilz is the Ladybug....
Joe Pilz Sr. (left)
 Tony Pilz (right)

The Kavaliers Band, 1969

Here's a little more about the term Fasching or better known as Mardi Gras in the US....

Come out and join in the Fasching at Akron GFS on Saturday Feb 21st!! 

Rich Reikowski

There are three different words in German for “Carnival” or “Mardi Gras”: Karneval, Fasching and Fastnacht. Although all three refer to the same pre-Lenten observance, each has a different tradition and reflects somewhat different customs in different regions of the German-speaking world. Let’s take a closer look.

The word Fasching dates back to the 13th century and is derived from the Germanic word vaschanc or vaschang, in modern German: Fastenschank is the last serving of alcoholic beverages before Lent. In olden times the 40-day Lenten period of fasting was strictly observed. People refrained from drinking alcohol or eating meat, milk products and eggs. The English word “fast”, to refrain from eating, is related to German fasten.

Karneval, on the other hand, is a newer, much more recent 17th century term. It is a Latin-based word borrowed from French and Italian. The true origin of the word is uncertain, but it probably comes from Latin carne levare, away with meat, Karneval or Carnival. In earlier times, the German word was even written with a C rather than today’s K-spelling.

Another common term for carnival in German is Fastnacht, refers to the Swabian-Alemannic carnival, which differs in some ways from Fasching and Karneval, and is found in Baden-Württemberg, Franconia (northern Bavaria), Hesse and much of Switzerland. Although this word looks like it comes from the German for the “eve of Lent,” in fact it is based on the Old German word fasen (“to be foolish, silly, wild”). Thus the word, sometimes spelled Fasnacht (without the t) actually means something like “night of being wild and foolish.”

Cologne Karneval marchers

Narrensprung in Rottweil
Costumed marchers in the 2008 Narrensprung in Rottweil, Baden-Württemberg. PHOTO: Bert Körn, naros.de

Masked women in Munich

Masked women in Munich
A group of masked ladies enjoying Fasching on Munich’s Marienplatz. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

The carnival tradition of humorous, rhyming speeches called Büttenreden began in Cologne. An entire industry, complete with books and websites, has grown up around it. The Büttenrede takes its name from the barrel-shaped podium, or die Bütt, where the speaker stands to give his Büttenrede. 

Narrensprung in Rottweil

The Fastnacht version of carnival has some unique characteristics and customs not found, or far less prominent in other regions. The use of elaborate carved wooden masks, devils, witches, animals and other “wild characters” (Wilde Leute) is common. One theory says that this a reflection of the pre-Christian roots of the Swabian-Alemannic carnival. In ancient times these figures and masks were part of an effort to drive out evil spirits in the dark of winter. Others say it developed out of early Christian religious practices and the church’s concept of good and evil.

Unlike the practice in other regions, many of the costume wearers (Narrenhästräger) in Fastnacht areas use the same masks and costumes year after year, sometimes even keeping them in the family for generations. Over time, however, with the influences from other carnivals, Fastnacht has taken on a wide assortment of costumes and customs – in addition to the traditional ones.

The town of Rottweil in Baden-Württemberg has a very famous Fastnacht celebration. The carnival parade in Rottweil is known as the Narrensprung, literally the “fools’ jump.” Actually, there are three big parades in Rottweil, one on Rose Monday at 8:00 a.m. and two on Shrove Tuesday (at 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.). The Narrensprung marchers wear the traditional wooden carved masks characteristic of the Swabian-Alemannic Fastnacht.

For more about Fastnacht, also see Alte Fastnacht in Switzerland (below).
Cologne Karneval marchers
Costumed marchers in Cologne’s 2012 Rose Monday parade, the culmination of Karneval in the Rhineland. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wiener Abend 2015 "Evening in Vienna"

The Akron German Family Society wishes to invite you to our first event of the year, Wiener Abend, or "Evening in Vienna"! Our Youth Group has several new members who will be performing in this year's Vienna Night. Please, see a few of our previous “Evening in Vienna” pictures.

"Evening in Vienna” will be held at the Akron German Family Society on Saturday, January 31 at 6:00pm with entertainment by the Fred Ziwich Band, including special Viennese Waltzes in formal pageantry by the "GFS Youth Group".

This is a members only event and we request that you make reservations prior to Monday, January 26th by calling Renate at 330-633-3949 or Eva at 330-335-8985. If you make reservations and are unable to attend, please call to cancel so that it may be filled by someone that would like to attend. We are very fortunate to have had many new members and families join our club in 2014.

This event, in particular to some of our GFS members, is one that brings back many memories of early childhood experiences of waltzes, while growing up in Vienna.
This dance event holds many fond connections, so much, that our club celebrates this yearly with respect to genuine tradition of the Viennese Waltz.

Prepare to be captivated by the GFS Youth Group’s young ladies in their beautiful dresses and young men in tuxedos. Our dancers convey the dance in the truest sense in style, class, and dress....sure to impress!

And of course, the kitchen volunteers and cooks will prepare a delicious meal to enjoy.

Rich Reikowski

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wunderbar New Year's Eve Celebration at Akron German Family Society!

Die Akron deutschen Familie Gesellschaft und ihre Mitglieder wünschen Ihnen eine fröhliche, gesundes und erfolgreiches neues Jahr. Zusammenkommen mit Freunden, Familie und geliebten Menschen ist das, was ein Fest auf sich hat. Neue Leute kennenlernen und ein angeschlossenen Teil des Lebens der Menschen .... ist einfach ein Segen !!

The Akron German Family Society and its members wish you a joyous, healthy, and prosperous new year!  Coming together with friends, family, and loved ones is what a celebration is all about. Making new friends and being a connected part of peoples’ lives is an extra blessing.

This year’s New Year’s Eve party was a success in so many ways: Delicious food, perfect hall, and a band playing our favorite music for dancing was a fine tribute to our year-end celebration!

See the smiling faces of those having fun in the pictures. Special thanks to Jill and Jim Armbrust for sharing some of their favorite pictures to be included in this blog!