The Nubbel burning on the ground
The Nubbel burning on the ground

Dat ham wa nit jewollt, dat war ja nur dr Nubbel schuld!

These were the words we had to shout again and again in the middle of the night as Veilchendienstag went over to Aschermittwoch, following a tradition more than hundreds of years old.

Each year at the end of carnival season people come together at their local pubs and burn the Nubbel, a straw man who stands for the origin of all sins that have been made the days before. A false priest will stand in front of the people and hold a speech in Kölsch listing up all the wrong that has happened, while in between requesting the audience to accuse loudly the Nubbel of all guilt. Then the straw man will be carried around the block in some kind of mourning procession, the people behind carrying lit candles. The ceremony is somehow solemn and at the same time funny and concludes with everybody throwing a burning candle upon the poor straw man cleansing themselves of guilt. Some were even hopping over the fire reminding me of Nowruz celebrations back in Iran.

We took part at the ritual organized by pub Alcazar in the Belgische Viertel and I really liked it although the average age of the participants there was much above mine.

But that doesn’t matter, it is a great spectacle and I won’t miss it again. Hope you will take part next year, too.

Just remember you get freed of your past sins only, not the ones to come… Also get costumed for this occasion, too. I was unaware and felt a little like an outsider with my super warm jumper.

Me at home pre-nubbeling
Me, chilling at home pre-nubbeling in my non-costume

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