Fasching (also known as Karneval) is a time of festivity and merry making – a time to break the rules, poke fun at those who makes them and a chance to make your own rules. Fasching takes place the week before the start of lent. This year we will be celebrating Thursday February 4th for Weiberfastnacht.
For Weiberfastnacht on Feb 4th, The women will take over the Willow Tree! Ladies bring your sharpest scissors and be ready to go to work on cutting as many neckties as you can from the (concenting) men. Guys, that means you should wear their least favorite ties. This is one of our longest running Willow Tree traditions and is a lot of fun.
What is Weiberfastnacht and Necktie-Cutting?
It all began in Bonn, but the Weiberfastnacht tradition has since spread to carnival celebrations in most of Germany. What began as a women’s protest has now become a carnival custom that includes “necktie-cutting” – a symbolic way of putting men in their place. On the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, the Germans have a sort of version of Sadie Hawkins Day in the US, when women take over traditional men’s roles by asking men to dance, kissing men, etc. On what is also known asSchmotziger/Schmutziger Donnerstag, men in Germany need to be careful about what they wear! In practice, most men know the custom, and either don’t wear a tie at all or wear an old one they won’t miss if it gets cut off. Women dress up as gypsies or wear other costumes and cut off the ties of men they encounter.* Usually the men get a kiss as compensation.
*As a practical matter, German courts have ruled that the man must agree to the tie-cutting, otherwise the woman could be in trouble.