Carnival: Fun or Accident Day?

It begins with Women’s Carnival on the Thursday before Shrove Monday and ends with Ash Wednesday. Thousands of party-goers will celebrate the carnival again this year. For days there is singing, dancing – and above all drinking. But is carnival just a harmless cause for celebration? Or does this “fifth season” – especially due to the high alcohol consumption – involve an increased risk of accidents?

The origin of carnival

Since the 12th century, Christians have celebrated Carnival to enjoy the carnal and gluttonous time before Lent. The word “Carnival” comes from the Latin “carne vale”, which means “meat, farewell”. On this occasion, people dress up and roam the streets to drive away winter, demons and witches. Cologne in North Rhine-Westphalia is known as the home of Carnival in Germany. Since 1823, a large procession has been held on Shrove Monday every year. The main dates for Carnival run from Weiberfastnacht (the Thursday before Shrove Monday) to Violet Tuesday (the Tuesday after Shrove Monday). It all ends on Ash Wednesday and Lent begins. Officially, however, the country’s so-called fifth season will begin on April 11.

At Carnival, we celebrate, sing, laugh…

In many cities, Carnival culminates in Shrove Monday parades. Crowds of people in disguise pour into the city – to watch the parade or take part in it in person. During the parade, sweets – originally caramel candies, so-called “llamas” – chocolates and sometimes individual flowers. Last year’s Shrove Monday parade in Cologne distributed some 300 tons of sweets to more than one million visitors. Afterwards, the festivities continue in bars or tents with lots of dancing. If you show up unabashedly, you will be noticed unhappily, at least at the risk of askew looks and comments. Because carnival people take their costumes very seriously: on average around 300 million euros are invested in self-sewing and buying costumes in Germany every year.

…and drink by the gallon.

Like the big parties, there is a lot of alcohol flowing at Mardi Gras. In Weiberfastnacht alone, more than 40,000 Alt beers are brewed by Düsseldorf’s major breweries. Unfortunately, the effects of alcohol are often underestimated. The line between “everything is fun” and a complete breakdown is often very thin. At carnivals in many places, you can already see daytime drunks stumbling through the streets. Especially notable is the fact that many young people get extremely drunk at the carnival. On the one hand, alcohol lowers the threshold of inhibition, so there is more dancing and flirting—a desirable outcome. On the other hand, however, alcohol significantly reduces risk perception – a very adverse effect. As a result, drunk driving accidents are up 25% compared to the rest of the year. There was also a significant increase in the number of bar fights and serious falls, such as when falling from a moving van or while dancing on a bench or counter. In addition, there were 529 evictions, 202 detentions and 437 reports of physical injury during Cologne Carnival 2018. There were also 106 drug abuse cases. In addition, the police received 35 reports of sexual crimes. But alcohol isn’t the only cause of anxiety. In a classic carnival parade, horse-drawn carriages also pose a risk. When a horse gallops in a parade, usually nothing happens. But don’t forget that horses are game, and although they are calm and well trained, they may be startled by something and run away at any time. In 2018, five people were seriously injured when a carriage ran away during the Rose Monday parade in Cologne.

A sober carnival as the solution?

Especially anti-Carnival opponents will certainly welcome a sober holiday, since in Cologne it has already been described as “the only wine”. But sober binge periods are not the same as accident-free periods. Even sober people are still at risk of being thrown or falling. Also, most carnival attendees see sharing a gin or beer as part of the carnival, which is why a total ban on alcohol during carnival week is likely to meet a lot of resistance.

So what help? Alcoholic beverages of one kind or another are fine as long as they are kept in moderation. However, to reduce the risk of accidents, well-known tips should be followed: create a good base for food, such as the popular carnival pastry Berliners, and sometimes skip a round and drink water in between. Also heed the adage “beer to wine, let’s be” so don’t overdo it. Not only will this prevent accidents, it will greatly reduce the chances of a hangover the next day. Let’s be honest: no one really wants to do this. Additionally, glass bans have been introduced in many places. The streets used to be littered with debris and empty glass bottles where passers-by could hurt themselves. The glass ban was met with a positive response and also kept Mardi Gras free of broken glass and cut rugs.

Valentine’s Day dos and don’ts

On February 14th it’s that time again: Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. While some people are against the “token of love by appointment”, which is often expressed through standardized consumption, Valentine’s Day has a high priority for others. For a successful day, optimal preparation is the be-all and end-all. However, despite perfect planning, things sometimes go completely differently than desired – and then get out of hand. So that this doesn’t happen to you, we explain the dos and don’ts on Valentine’s Day.

The preparations are ongoing

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, masses of roses are bought and given away – more than 50 million worldwide. On average, Germans spend €50 on gifts, flowers and that cliched romantic dinner. In the USA, on the other hand, as the country of origin of Valentine’s Day, things can definitely be unromantic; The date sometimes takes place at McDonalds. Because many fast-food chains offer special menus for couples there for Valentine’s Day. And if there is no partner to give presents to, you can simply give your pet a present. At least 3 percent of all pet owners do this.

But how is Valentine’s Day a complete success? And what should be avoided?

Things to do

1. Clear agreements prevent disappointment

It’s clear: Your partner doesn’t take Valentine’s Day half as seriously as you do — so no plans. An annoying pitfall you could have easily avoided. It’s best to plan ahead so you won’t be disappointed if the day doesn’t go as planned.

2. Small gifts keep love

Instead of buying a potentially expensive gift, consider a DIY gift that can also come in the form of a small gift. This shows your partner that you’ve gotten to know him and his interests in depth and that you’ve invested time in personal gifts. A great option, because the personal alternative to almost having to go to a restaurant is co-cooking nights – eating within the four walls of your home.

3. Time instead of things

Anyone can buy material gifts for themselves. What cannot be bought, however, is time. Give your partner the gift of spending time together. There are many ideas for spending time together: Whether it’s a visit to the opera house and a romantic couples massage, or a treasure hunt and a high-ropes course for the adventurer: the gift of time is a unique and valuable option.

4. Attention is an expression of love

Small surprises and loving attention show your partner: You mean a lot to me. The creativity is limitless: small gifts like handwritten messages you stash in your car or jacket pocket so your partner can easily find them, a spontaneous call or visit, even an invitation to dinner. But consider point 1: the greater the surprise planned, the greater the disappointment if the partner expects something else.

Do not do

1. Ignore your lover

If your partner is looking forward to Valentine’s Day and simply forgets about the occasion, or worse, ignores it, it could lead to a nasty argument. It’s best to keep reminders on your smartphone or calendar. Reminders should be sent as early as possible so you don’t get a last-minute gift.

2. The Day of Love Separation

Valentine’s Day is considered a day of love. Even if you know couples who happened to be separated that day, you shouldn’t take this opportunity to separate. If you see no other way out, then do an exit interview beforehand – in person anyway, not via text (no, not even a WhatsApp voice message counts as a personal interview).

3. Excessive drinking

Especially on Valentine’s Day and the day before: if alcohol is consumed, only as tolerated. Under no circumstances should you expect your partner to hangover in bed or even be carried home by him because you can no longer be on your own. According to the individual’s physique and tolerance, drinking alcohol is allowed on Valentine’s Day, but in moderation.

Valentine’s Day is single – what to do?

Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you have to give up Valentine’s Day.

First, you can give yourself a gift. For example, treat yourself with something you’ve longed for, or pamper yourself with a bouquet of flowers, or enjoy a long sauna session.

Also consider: If you live alone, you won’t be disappointed in your partner. Enjoy your own time and follow your own preferences. Do you love cozy movie nights within your own four walls? Then go to the couch! Do you like to meet up with friends and spend an evening over good food and interesting conversations? Then pick up the phone and make an appointment! Whatever your preference: Valentine’s Day is a great time for singles to enjoy their independence.

Dangers in Winter

It is dark. It is smooth. It is dangerous. Some people don’t want to go out at all in the dreary winter weather and would rather stay safe at home. But does the cold season really hold so many dangers? How can the risks be prevented in winter? And what does a comparison of the four seasons reveal?

What dangers does winter hold?

The cold season usually brings darkness, snow and ice with it. What belongs to a real winter wonderland for one person cannot be over quickly enough for another. And not without good reason. At home, for example, the water pipes in unheated rooms can freeze and be damaged. Something similar can also happen with water connections in the garden if the supply is not shut off in good time before the cold onset. Snow avalanches falling from roofs are a rarity in our region, but we can encounter them during heavy or prolonged snowfalls at the latest on ski holidays. Apart from that, there is a risk that large icicles that have formed on the gutter will come loose and endanger passers-by.

During leisure time, large areas of ice, e.g. B. for ice skating, a popular destination. But even if these appear stable on the banks and are carrying a person, they can be unstable and collapse a few meters away. Flowing waters and waters with fluctuating water levels are even more unpredictable.

With regard to the means of transport, rail traffic can be impaired in winter due to icing on the overhead lines. On the other hand, the locks on bicycles and cars can freeze up or the battery can underperform. An area of ​​ice can also be hidden under a blanket of snow, which can become a dangerous trap not only for motorists: cyclists and pedestrians on the sidewalk can also accidentally overlook it and slip. This danger can also exist on cleared roads, since the road salt effect can then be impaired.

Most Common Cause of Weather-Related Accidents: Rain Before Snow and Ice

According to accident statistics from the Federal Statistical Office, the proportion of weather-related accidents is significantly higher in winter than in summer. However, there are fewer traffic accidents in winter than in summer. How did this happen?

  • Winter: fog. snowfall. hail. Without a doubt, winter road conditions are by far the most unpredictable. But that’s why people are more careful and drive slower. Many people prefer not to drive in the first place before there is a risk of an accident on slippery roads. The low number of bicycles or motorized two-wheelers is one of the reasons why winter is not an accident-prone season. However, it should be noted that the risk of pedestrian accidents increases during the darker months.
  • Spring: The days are getting longer and the temperatures are getting hotter. It was still dark in the morning and the road was slippery. Out of habit, you are still cautious in traffic. The further spring goes, the more people will be attracted. People bike to work instead of driving, and many take long trips on weekends. Therefore, as the spring progresses, so does the number of accidents.
  • Summer: more and more people are actively involved in road traffic and spend time outdoors. Everyone feels energized – and they do. Because a good mood also increases the willingness to take risks. This is reflected in accident statistics, too: more road fatalities occur in the U.S. during warm summer months than during cold winter months. In addition to direct weather influences, there are so-called biological influences, ie the effects of weather on the human organism, its performance and mental state. In particular, the heat load has a great influence on the occurrence of accidents. According to a study by the Meteorological Institute of the Free University of Berlin,
  • Autumn: The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting less comfortable. People are staying at home more, and those who used to cycle in the summer are now increasingly switching to buses and trains or taking cars.

What measures can be taken to prevent accidents in winter?

As beautiful as winter is, it also brings many dangers. Accidents can happen quickly, and the consequences are sometimes painful and long-lasting. Therefore, it is very important to adapt to the changing conditions in winter in time. Here are some tips to protect yourself:

  • Properly heat the room and check heating operation regularly
  • cover sensitive plants
  • Insulate water pipes in areas prone to freezing or draining
  • park the car in the garage or cover the windows
  • Alert homeowners to large icicles on roof
  • Get the latest weather forecast and traffic information when you wake up in the morning
  • Wear light-coloured, high-visibility clothing, with reflective surfaces if possible
  • wear sturdy non-slip shoes
  • Always use the railing when walking on exterior stairs
  • Take the shortest route to cross the road, use zebra crossings and traffic lights, and avoid unlit paths
  • Check that the bike is roadworthy (e.g. headlights, reflectors, brakes, tread and air pressure)
  • For your own safety, use the bike lanes and wear a bike helmet
  • Drive carefully, arrange more route time, no time pressure
  • Be especially careful on forest and forest roads and bridges as this is where black ice forms fastest
  • Only enter officially approved bodies of frozen water with ice thickness of 12 cm or more. The ice rink in your area is still the safest place to skate

Digital legacy: The most important things at a glance

Our life is becoming more and more digital. We post on Facebook, Instagram & Co., save e-mails on Google and other providers, send and receive Whatsapp and other messenger messages, have user accounts with retailers, insurance companies and more. There are also digital subscriptions, such as Spotify or Amazon Prime, data from fitness trackers and countless others. But what actually happens when we are no more? And how can I ensure during my lifetime that dealing with this data is as easy as possible for my relatives – and that they know exactly what to do in my interest if the worst comes to the worst? We clarify about “digital provision”.

What is digital heritage?

Over 90 percent of Americans over the age of ten are online – and the trend is rising. Each of them leaves digital traces. Partly on their own devices such as the computer at home, the mobile phone or the digital camera. More and more ends up in the cloud and with digital providers: contract data as well as pictures, social media accounts, Netflix subscriptions, e-mail accounts and much more information. All of this exists beyond your own life. Those who regulate their digital estate early and cleverly ensure that the heirs have it as easy as possible after their own death to also manage this estate in the interests of the testator.

The heirs are required

All rights and obligations of the testator pass to the heir or heirs. So also subscriptions and contracts concluded online. After the death of the testator, the heirs must either comply with all contracts once they have been concluded or terminate them as soon as possible. Because even digitally concluded contracts usually do not just end with death. The same applies to all user and email accounts. Unfortunately, this is often more complicated than you think. If the heirs do not have the passwords, the path to deletion can be long. If you want to get access to it, you have to get it with the certificate of inheritance and some time and effort from each individual provider and service. In the end it works – but who wants to expect that from their loved ones in these difficult days of mourning? Those who take precautions in good time make it easier for their loved ones.

Appoint a confidant

The easiest way is to appoint a person of trust who will take care of the digital estate in the event of death. To do this, issue a handwritten power of attorney with date and signature in which you name your digital estate administrator. It is also important to have a list in which you list your accounts with user names and passwords. Deposit them on a password-protected USB stick or another safe place. Now all you have to do is tell your trusted person where he or she can find the stick or list and you have already achieved a lot. If you like, you can regulate your digital estate in a legally secure manner by means of a will. The same applies here: It must be handwritten, clearly formulated and signed. By the way: Google, Facebook and some others offer to specify the person of trust in the settings – for example as a legacy contact on Facebook or via the account inactivity manager on Google.

Commercial Vendors

Wenn Sie keine Vertrauensperson haben oder benennen wollen, finden Sie im Netz auch eine große Auswahl an Anbietern, die versprechen, sich für Sie um den digitalen Nachlass zu kümmern. Wie gut, wie sicher und wie teuer diese auf die Dauer sind, ist leider nicht so einfach zu sagen. Achten Sie vor Abschluss mindestens auf die Kosten und übergeben Sie besser keine Kennwörter. Die Gefahr, dass der Anbieter gehackt und die Daten anderweitig genutzt werden, ist leider real.

Delete and update

Anyone who wants to make things easier for their relatives should view and check their estate from time to time. Are the passwords and accounts still up to date? It is also very important to regularly delete content that you might not want to burden your heirs with after your death. Some photos, chat histories, and email conversations you might want to keep with you. Anyone who deletes regularly is on the safe side here – even after their lifetime.