Soccer Fans Join Together for Street 'Carnivals'

"Football Carnivals" are on the rise in Germany, where the community viewing buzz from the 2006 World Cup has hung around and revived itself for the current European Championship.

2 minute read

June 18, 2008, 2:00 PM PDT

By Nate Berg

"Hundreds of thousands took to the streets of German cities on Monday night draped in their national colors, whooping, cheering, hugging each other and honking their car horns to celebrate Germany's Euro 2008 win over Austria. But few can seriously have believed that their team either warranted that kind of reaction or has much chance of winning the next match."

"Before the 2006 World Cup, Germans would have reacted to such a match by taking a relieved swig of beer, watching the post-match analysis with shaking heads and going to bed."

"Now, they're donning silly wigs, draping the bonnets of their BMWs in German flags and racing through town at high speed chanting "Deutschland" into the early hours."

"What has happened? The last World Cup in Germany appears to have spawned a new form of carnival, a football carnival."

"The giant public viewing areas set up in 2006 turned watching football into a more collective experience than it was before. Added to that, four weeks of almost uninterrupted sunshine in 2006 helped to generate a euphoric party mood that Germany is determined to recreate now."

"The carnival atmosphere has been completed by a new wave of football fancy dress consisting not just of team shirts but of black, red and gold feathery garlands worn around the neck along with face paint and funny glasses."

"Another new element is that women are joining in with a previously unseen abandon. Before 2006, tournaments were accompanied by a spike in divorce rates and household violence caused by men's uninterrupted football watching. Suddenly, the sexes seem united in celebration."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 in Der Spiegel

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