While in Germany over the weekend, K and I stumbled on Karneval Hannover while shopping in the city center. It was very much like a tamer Mardi Gras minus the beads and exposed flesh and very family friendly. We collected a lot of candy thrown from the floats, being very careful not to get pelted in the eye in the process!
Clubs and committees around Germany meet throughout the year to organize parties and parades that occur on the days before the start of Ash Wednesday. Each event has their own Prince and Princess of Karneval and royal court which is a huge honor for those "reigning" that year. Spectators also get into the spirit by dressing up and joining in on the fun.