February 13, 2012
I live in the Rhinelands, Germany, and next week, as always in February, there will be the beginning of “Strassenkarneval”. People will dress up in silly costumes, visit parades on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) where they throw confetti and sweets and also, most importantly, get absolutely shit-faced in public.
During the parades, there’ll be bands marching in mock French uniforms carrying flowers in their wooden guns. Every once in a while, they’ll stop, pair up, stick their butts out as far as humanly possible and then rub against each other. To music. That’s what Stippefoettche means: sticking out the naked butt, aka mooning.
Just like that
It’s a pretty blunt parody of French military, dating back to the occupation of the Rhinelands which did not sit well with the people living there, who pretty much had a reputation of being fun loving slackers. There’s an anecdote that mirrors this attitude quite well:
During the bombardment of the city walls of Cologne, defenders purportedly yelled: “”Wat schiesst ihr he rum? He stonn doch lück!” – “Why are you shooting? Can’t you see there’s people standing up here?”
After the eventual defeat of Napoleon, fleeing French troops left their uniforms behind, which were gleefully used in the traditional mummer’s dances of the season. The butt-rubbing dance they do there may be even older than that, and has ancient roots in –demon extermination?
German anthropologist Dr. Gisela Asmus (cited here on a German site) claims that the oldest depictions of the dance date back to the rock carvings of Fossum, Sweden, 1800 B.C. It was supposedly a ritual act to scare demons away. Now who would have thought that?