'Politischer Aschermittwoch', Bavaria, Germany

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Although carnival officially ends with the first stroke of the midnight bell on lent tuesday, some parts of Germany (Bavaria, to be exact) are quite reluctant to quit fun, drinking, behaving politically incorrect, etc. ... for at least another day. That's why an institution like the 'Politischer Aschermittwoch' (=Political Ash Wednesday - PAW) is absolutely en vogue. As the whole ceremony may seem somehow wacky to foreign persons1, this Entry tries to shed some light into the issue.

Origins of PAW

The PAW dates back to the 16th century, when peasants, farmers, cattle dealers and merchants got together in Vilshofen, a town at the river Danube, on ash wednesday for cattle trading and above all for their beloved palavering. In 1919 the 'Bayerischer Bauernbund' (Bavarian farmers union) chose this traditional date for their annual party convent. In 1948, when democratic traditions were gradually reinstalled in Germany, the 'Bayernpartei' (Bavaria Party) took over the tradidion. But no sooner than 1953, with the first time that the (in-)famous bavarian politician Franz Josef Strauß came there, the PAW started to attract nation-wide attention.

1In the terms usually used on political ash wednesday, everybody except of those who are present at the venue is a 'foreign person'.

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