Sunday, February 26, 2012
Michäla Rehl took this picture of Bavaria's Finance Minister Markus Söder for Reuters February 10, 2012. Herr Söder was in Veitshöchheim (near Würzburg) for the TV show "Fastnacht in Franken." Fastnacht is one of the common names for Shrove Tuesday ("Fat Tuesday.") Fat Tuesday is fat because we fill up before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. It is called Fasching in Bavaria, carnival in much of the world, and marti gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") in places like New Orleans. Carnaval accounts for 70% of Brazil's tourism and 80% of its beer consumption: not bad for a week's "work." This celebration of the fun before the fast can create enough sin to require at least forty days of repentance.
The "Hast Du mal nen Euro?" translates roughly into "Would you have a Euro already?" or "Spare a Euro?" I wonder whether this is Bayerisch or Kiezdeutsch. The Economist describes Kiezdeutsch as "the argot of inner-city teenagers" and a Doktor Heike Wiese, linguist at the University of Potsdam, has argued it to be a distinct German dialect. Purists are outraged.
Might Herr Söder be making fun of the Greeks asking for a handout? Why such Teutonic skepticism? Those suspicious Germans figure the Greeks want Fasching without fasting, i.e., carnival without Lent. Well who wouldn't? The Germans read their Homer and know what happened to the Trojans when they believed the Greeks.