In Germany, the carnival season starts already at the 11th of November and ends months later at Ash Wednesday, which means that our season is much longer than in most of the other countries. However, there is a lot to experience during this time and most of the people are crazy about this season of the year.
On the 11th of November, different villages and cities present their carnival prince of the season and celebrate the beginning of carnival with performances and music. From the beginning of January, you can visit lots of different carnival events, where dancing groups or well-known carnival bands perform traditional carnival dances and carnival-live-music. Everyone is in a good mood, dressed in colorful costumes and you get to know lots of new people on those events, cause everyone is open-minded during this time. But the main attraction, the parades, and after-show parties start on Thursday before Ash Wednesday. There we celebrate in different costumes with loud music, free candy, lots of alcohol and everyone who wants to join, so you can see young and old together.
Of course during this time, in Germany it is very cold and sometimes we still have snow on the streets, so especially the ones who dress up in skirts or shorts are always sick when street-carnival is over, but that’s worth it. Cause we celebrate six days and nights in costume on the streets or in clubs and nobody wants to miss that, no matter how cold it is. Children who still are going to school have holidays during this time, cause the city is so crowded, busy and full of events that school wouldn’t make lots of sense.
After Carnival our next event is easter. We always celebrate it in spring when the first flowers appear and the sun starts to shine. Easter Sunday we usually spend with our families and the people we love the most. Before breakfast, little children search for colored Easter eggs, chocolate and little presents in the garden. In the afternoon people go out for a walk or in the church to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Christmas time begins in the cold winter time on the first of December. Children and adults have a traditional Advent Calendar filled with different things like chocolate, toys or cosmetics, depending on the age and interests of the person. Moreover, they have an advent wreath where they light every Sunday one more candle, so after the four weeks, all of the candles are lightened up for Christmas.
Around one week before the Christmas day, they buy a Christmas tree, start to decorate it and sing typical Christmas songs in school or kindergarten. At the 24th of December, after almost one month of Christmas – preparation they finally celebrate Christmas, as one of the biggest events of the year. In the evening, before opening the presents most of the people go to church and eat a lot for dinner. They celebrate Christmas from the 24th to the 26th of December, to get the chance to visit everyone who is important for oneself and to spend as much time as possible with the family.
Hey, I am Anne Schroeder from Bonn and I’ve been to Madeira for voluntary service.
Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.
Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.
In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.
Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.
We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.
Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.