Friday, 27 February 2009

Not sure I understand this at all...

I'll be the first to admit that I'm far from religious. In fact, I'll go ahead and claim I am not religious at all. Whether or not I'm spiritual is open for debate in another post. But for this one, I'm trying to wrap my mind around this strange tradition that marks the end of Carnival... the 'nubbelverbrennung'...
From my limited understanding, you're essentially burning a priest.

Because what you've done during Carnival is 'confess' your sins, in a drunken stupor, outside in the cold, to this straw puppet hanging conveniently over the front door of whatever bar you just stumbled out of. So this 'dummy' absorbs your heathen behavior and extreme debauchery so that you can watch them all disappear in a wisp of smoke as the passion of your sins burn brightly in the midnight air. How poetic!

I'm not trying to offend anyone's religion here or beliefs. But I just don't understand why these beliefs are suddenly 'suspended' for six days so that people can go absolutely wild. Is it to get it out of your system so that you can languish in a malaise for 40 days with the comfort of knowing you really kicked up your heels during Carnival? Is it simply 'good for business' to get people to do something bad so that they'll feel remorseful and the need to come to church? It's all very bizarre to me.

And of course you have heavy blanket of lament that drapes over everyone in the city once Carnival has passed. You can see it in their faces as they mope around town with the images and experiences of crazy Carnival days beckoning them to the 'dark side'. I don't know, I guess I'll never really understand the deeper meanings around this celebration. Perhaps that's better, so that I can always be intrigued and find it interesting to observe and participate.

And then I can act dejected and morose as I wave goodbye to Carnival and pray for its early arrival next November 11th.