Egonne Roth



Fasching in Waghäusel

Posted by Egonne Roth on March 1, 2017 at 3:25 PM

It’s just before 11am on a cold Thursday morning that I get onto the bus to go from the small village of Oberhausen-Rheinhausen in Baden Württemberg to the next tiny village,Waghäusel. It is the Schmutzige Donnerstag (Dirty Thursday) festival. The bus is filled with young and old dressed up for the occasion and the atmosphere is one of celebration.

I become fascinated by the faces – most completely blackened, originally with soot from the chimneys, but now with special face paint and on top of that astounding designs have been painted. Many of the older celebrants have painted faces without the undercoat of black.



In Waghäusel we all alight and there is no way I can get lost finding my way to the Rathaus which is the centre of the morning’s activities. After the parade and the bands and the drum majorettes, the women will take the mayor captive. He then hands over the key of the village to them, thereby symbolically giving the women the power over the village.

The bands are playing and beer is freely available. I watch it all amazed at how many people are actually participating on what is basically a normal working day.

By the time the ceremonies are over, everyone is hungry and even more thirsty and the action moves to Yehudit’s cousin’s gasthaus in the forest. Beer is stacked outside and business is brisk. There is hot warming Gulaschsuppe, Käse Brot and Wurst-mit-Brot served with hot mustard.


Most people are laughing and talking and every once in a while someone breaks out into song – hearty drinking songs that remind me of my father. I wonder what he would say if he could see his daughter in this crazy village pub serving wurst and beer!


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