Carnival starts on November 11 in Germany

Culture

Carnival begins

On the 11th day of the 11th month the carnival strongholds in the Rhineland, especially Cologne, Bonn, Dusseldorf, Aachen and Mainz, all launch carnival season. In Cologne, 10,000 people gather at Heumarkt square. Many come from all over the region and the country. In other areas of Cologne, alternative events are also held.

Culture

One too many

These are also typical carnival scenes. Extra ambulances and paramedics are needed, because there are many people who drink so much that they're already too drunk in the early afternoon.

Culture

Too commercial?

A famous local band, the Bläck Fööss, decided not to play at the official Cologne carnival this year, claiming it has lost its traditional "Kölsch" spirit. They will be playing at a smaller event instead.

Culture

The carnival sessions

As of January, carnival clubs organize shows and masked balls. In Cologne, these events are loud and hearty, whereas a more intellectual atmosphere rules in Mainz, where political humor is part of the tradition. Just as traditional there are these "court's singers," a serious choir of men - all dressed in clown costumes.

Culture

All together now!

No city in the world celebrates carnival like Cologne. New songs are invented for carnival season every year. The singing tour "Loss mer singe" (LMS) is an evening where everyone can learn these new songs. A Kölsch pub in Berlin, "Ständige Vertretung," also holds a preparatory evening to practice them.

Culture

The 'swollen heads' of Mainz

These giants heads, called "Schwellköpp" (swollen heads) in Mainz, are part of the carnival parade and depict the features of public personalities and politicians of the city.

Culture

The trio of fools in Cologne

Each carnival city has new rulers every year. In most of them, it is a duo of princes. In Cologne, it is the "Dreigestirn," the trio of fools. Even though a virgin is among them, these characters are all held by men - and they're rich ones. It can cost up to 100,000 euros ($110,000) to become the Prince of the year in Cologne, whereas the position can be snapped up for 75,000 euros in Dusseldorf.

Culture

The Dusseldorf Hoppeditz

The jester of Dusseldorf, called "Hoppeditz," is awoken every year on the 11th of the 11th month. He comes out of a pot of mustard and holds a little speech, after which the mayor of the city may or may not be allowed to answer back. The figure of the Hoppeditz is burned on Ash Wednesday.

Culture

The Nubbel burns in Cologne

During carnival week, the Nubbel hangs over the entrances of the pubs of Cologne. The straw man is held responsible for all carnival sins and misfortunes. On the eve of Ash Wednesday, a ceremony is held at midnight and the doll is burned.

As of the 11th day of the 11th month, German carnival strongholds organize festive events until Ash Wednesday, in February the following year. The "fifth season" is more than five days before Lent.