This one most definitely falls into the “Snotshot of madity” category. It may be the maddest shotshot yet. Lanternfest! Another of those occasions that has me convinced Germans are crazy and probably beyond any hope of salvation.
It was last Thursday. The Kita was abuzz with excitement. Little people swarmed around at knee-level, all wearing enough for a camping trip to Outer Siberia, while regular-sized people stood by awkwardly, watching over their little monsters, each convinced theirs was the best but prohibited from announcing it by Höflichkeit.
They were all waiting out on the pavement when I arrived on the bike, late. I threw it against a tree, and the best little monster came up and gave me a hug. “Let's go!” (He actually says “let's go” accompanied by jumping up and down, whenever he wants to get going, which is quite often, but he says it in such a cool way that you cannot refuse.)
So this was the Lanternfest that I'd heard all about. Apparently it's German custom to give kids sticks with lights dangling from their ends inside lanterns and then lead them on a procession, singing, through the streets. Warum? Keine Ahnung. But do it they do, and the excitement was palpable as they all waved their sticks about and trampled each other before we set off.
I forgot to mention the weather. It was raining, gloomy, nearly dark, but that didn't deter the Kita wardens from singing loudly as we set off down the road, kids and parents in tow.
Despite all their apparent enthusiasm, the Nip didn't seem too bothered about carrying a stick with a light on it, and he promptly discarded it like an unwanted kitten. Jenny picked it up off the road and she carried it. Then I had to carry him. He really is getting lazy. Though I could empathize. The weather was fucking miserable and we were walking down a road where all there was to see was building sites and rubble.
The sticks were such shite quality they were in danger of giving China a bad name. We had two of them and neither worked. One of them was supposed to play music and all, but in the end I'd to bring it back to the shop and demand my money back on account of its shiteness. Of course it worked when your wan tested it in the shop, but at that stage I had enough and I demanded my hard-earned €6 back regardless.
I've heard proper Germans use real sticks, with real candles and real fire in their lanterns, but it seemed everyone on this procession had the same shite-quality plastic ones, albeit some brighter than others, an unintended reflection on the kids themselves perhaps. I don't know what that says about poor ol' Nip, who had to suffice with two plastic ones that didn't work before borrowing another that was so crap he threw it away.
There was only so much I could take. It was cold, wet and getting dark. It was best to remember it just the way it was. Apparently there were cakes and drinks back at the Kita afterward, but then an occasion crowned by Kaffee und Kuchen is no longer an occasion at all.
Apologies for the crap pictures. The light was bad as I mentioned before and the subjects moving. If any better pics become available in which no other kids are identified I'll update accordingly.