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Happy Karneval!

The GAHF wishes you and your family a happy Karneval!

Karneval is a celebration in Germany that dates back centuries. Rooted in Catholic tradition, Karneval honors the final days of freedom before the solemn 40-day observance of Lent begins. Modern-day festivities begin on Weiberfastnacht and culminate on Ash Wednesday and consist of thousands of people flooding the streets in costume. Although its exact origins are unknown, the word Karneval is rumored to have developed from the Latin words “carne levare,” meaning “away with meat”. Popular in the Rhineland, this tradition is also celebrated in southern Germany as Fasching or Fastnacht. Unlike the Karneval parades that originated to mock Prussian pomp and circumstance, the Fasching parades of southern Germany stem from pagan traditions of chasing away winter.

When Germans began immigrating to America, they brought their love of Karneval and Fasching with them. Today, some of the most notable Karneval celebrations in the US take place in Las Vegas, Milwaukee, and St. Louis, just to name a few. These celebrations are typically hosted by local German-American clubs and ring true to their German heritage, consisting of music, costumes, and lots of dancing!

We wish you a wonderful Karneval season!


The German American Heritage Foundation of the USA®