The beginning of the carnival season in Germany

The beginning of the carnival season in Germany

Every winter, carnivals are held in the Rhine Valley in Germany, a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Each city has a different name for the carnival: Fasching in Cologne and Karneval in Dusseldorf. The carnival season is called the “fifth season” and begins on November 11 at 11 pm.

On this day, the mayor of the city announces the beginning of the fifth season on the main square, preparations for large carnivals begin, and holiday sweets are sold in bakeries. Each city chooses a prince and princess of the carnival. But the real fun will only begin on February 8, Babi Thursday (Weiberfastnacht),

and will end with a grand ball on the evening of February 13, 2018. Today we will tell you about the three main carnivals in Germany.

The beginning of the carnival season in Germany

1. Carnival in Cologne

In Cologne, carnival is the main holiday after Christmas. This is where the start of the fifth season is most celebrated. On November 11 at 11 o’clock, concerts will begin in the city squares, the organizers will announce the slogan of the carnival, and a small parade of mummers will pass through the city from the town hall.

And on February 8, the day when women are allowed to do everything, the six-day celebration of the carnival will begin with the fact that ladies in bright costumes and with scissors in their hands will surround the city hall and stage a comic assault. After the assault, the mayor will announce the start of the carnival and everyone will go to celebrate. On this day, women make fun of men and even, according to tradition, cut off their ties.

In the following days, concerts and musical processions in fancy dress will be held on the streets of Cologne, and festive menus will appear in restaurants and pubs. The culmination of the carnival will come on February 12, on Rosenmontag (Pink Monday). A magnificent procession in fancy dress will pass along the main street of the city, surrounded by horsemen, hundreds of musicians and brightly decorated carts from which gingerbread and candy will be thrown into the crowd. About 1.5 million people will come to see the Cologne Carnival.

The beginning of the carnival season in Germany

2. Carnival in Dusseldorf

Carnival in Düsseldorf, which takes place every year since the end of the 15th century, is the second most important after Cologne. The main character of the carnival is the mischievous jester Hoppeditz. On the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 o’clock the jester wakes up in the main square of the city and announces the beginning of the celebration. Next comes the election of the prince and princess of the carnival.

The six-day celebration begins with a procession from the town hall on February 8 at 18.00. The most interesting events of the Düsseldorf carnival: comic competitions in the Niederkassel district, a parade with 60 floats with huge puppets ridiculing politicians from around the world, and the funeral of the jester Hoppeditz on February 12, 2018, during which the closure of the carnival is announced.

The beginning of the carnival season in Germany

Photo: © KarlGrobe/Fotolia

3. Carnival in Mainz

The history of the carnival in Mainz began in the 13th century. November 11 at 11 o’clock the burgomaster, accompanied by the main characters of the carnival (prince, lady and peasant),

goes out onto the balcony of the Osteiner Hofe mansion and announces the beginning of the fifth season and reads out the comic commandments of the carnival. For example, wear down 3 pairs of boots while dancing and drink 3 buckets of beer. Then, starting from January 1, once a week city residents gather for “Carnival meetings”, during which they discuss organizational issues, costumes, and come up with slogans over a glass of beer. A prerequisite for these meetings is that each participant must be 11 minutes late, which is not easy for punctual Germans.

February 8, the six-day carnival celebration begins with processions of mummers and musicians along the central streets of the city. The “Tower of Fools” is being built in the central square of the city, around which competitions and concerts are organized. Entrance to Mainz museums is free for all 6 days of the carnival. The main parade takes place on Pink Monday – a procession of children in bright costumes walks through the city center, followed by carts with dolls, followed by musicians and the “Parade of Fools” in caps and funny costumes. The carnival will end on February 14, Ash Wednesday, with a massive feast on the streets of Mainz.

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