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Weiberfastnacht, Wieverfastelovend: Carnival in Germany

The Thursday before Carnival, which is called Weiberfastnacht, is practically an unofficial holiday in the Rhineland in Germany. Starting at noon everybody leaves work and puts on a costume to go out in the bars and streets to celebrate. The strange custom on this day is that it is customary for women to cut the men’s neckties. Where does this tradition come from? We’ll tell you.


The origin of this tradition comes from Bonn-Beuel, a village near Cologne. In 1823, the first street carnival took place here. The men celebrated like crazy in the streets while the women stayed at home. Meanwhile, the laundry women of the village of Bonn-Beuel organized a tea party and hatched a plan to fight for their participation in the carnival, which until then was only for men. In 1824 the women founded the “Old Committee of Ladies” which was the basis of the Weiberfastnacht.

In 1957 the emancipatory liberation took place. Women stormed the village hall and symbolically placed themselves in charge of the city for one day. The symbolic takeover of the City of Beuel by the laundresses and their committee of ladies is still shown on television. So this custom is known throughout Germany, and the takeover of the town halls by women dressed in colorful costumes is still a tradition in many cities and towns in the Rhineland.

After World War II, women began cutting the men’s tie; in Bonn the secretaries cut their bosses’ ties, which were usually very expensive. The tie was regarded as a symbol of male power, since it’s a piece of clothing that is exclusively for men. By cutting the ties, women overthrew the men and took control. As a consolation, the woman receives a “Bützchen ,” or little kiss, from the man.

Since fewer men today wear ties, women also have the option of cutting their shoelaces.

And even today, women disguised as witches, princesses or cats takeover the city halls in the Rhineland of Germany, on the hunt for ties and laces. But watch out! Women still need each man’s consent; otherwise, cutting someone’s tie is considered property damage.