What does carnival mean

Even today, the most colorful and creative costumes, atmospheric music and ceremonial meetings with funny but also political hand-made speeches inspire carnival lovers in the Rhineland every year. But the carnival in the Rhineland has a long tradition. The highlight of the fifth season has always been the weekend before Ash Wednesday: From Thursday to Tuesday (this year from February 8th to 13th), the street carnival in the German strongholds on the Rhine is really good - accompanied by colorful parades decorated with floats of music and dance troupes and people in disguise, who like to start one or the other love affair. A trip to Cologne, Düsseldorf or Mainz at Carnival time is definitely worth it! Read here what the long-standing traditions look like, how they came about, but also how you can celebrate Carnival in a different way!

Remember minesurvey to participate! Are you a carnival fanatic or can't you do anything with the old German tradition?

The carnival strongholds of Germany

Prehistory | Düsseldorf | Cologne | Mainz | Carnival with a difference | survey

Old traditions in Germany

The tradition of the carnival is very old and goes back to the ancient Teutons. They dressed up in masks and animal skins and celebrated to awaken the good spirits and start spring. In the Middle Ages, these traditions were carried over to Christianity. The idea was to really savor the time before the six-week fasting period. Incidentally, the word carnival comes from the term "Carnevale", which translates as "Meat, goodbye! ”Means. It was not until the 19th century, with the Napoleonic occupation of the Reihnland, that the carnival established itself as a political and socially criticalwhat characterizes him to this day. Because political events were banned, people met in secret and expressed in a critical but also amusing way what they thought of Napoleon's politics. The fool number 11 also comes from that time. It served the purpose of jokingly disregard the church order, because whoever exceeded the 10 commandments was called a fool at that time.

In Düsseldorf it's called "Jeck all the more"

On November 11th it was that time again, because it was again "Hoppeditzer guards“: Erzschelm Hoppeditz woke up on the market square in front of the town hall in Düsseldorf and got out of his mustard pot. The Hoppeditz is traditionally one of the most important figures in the Düsseldorf carnival. With his pointed and amusing opening speech, he challenges the mayor to a foolish battle of words year after year and heralds the carnival season. From this moment on you can laugh, dance and sway again in Düsseldorf - so: "Düsseldorf Helau!“

Every year the carnival season in the carnival strongholds has its own motto, This year it is “Jeck all the more”, under which the amusing ceremonial meetings and costume balls also take place. In addition to humorous hand-made speeches, handsome dances by Tanzgarden and atmospheric music, the performance of the Düsseldorf royal couple is the highlight of every meeting.

At Women's Shrovetide the city belongs to women: every year on Carnival Thursday, carnivalists storm the town hall. Countless women in disguise "attack" the men at work and cut their ties - whether they like it or not!

And also on Carnival Sunday things are wild in Düsseldorf. Crowds in fancy costumes come together in the old town and on Königsallee to celebrate the popular festival together! The next day he is already waitingRose Monday procession on the starting gun. With around 72 wagons, over 30 chapels and around 5.1 kilometers in length, it is one of the largest in Germany. Hundreds of thousands of people watch the parade and hope to catch one or two camels that are thrown off the wagons.

Alaaf and Helau!

The foolish tattoo is on the program on Carnival Tuesday and means the end of the foolish festival. Then the prince couple is officially adopted by the mayor and the president of the “Comitee Düsseldorfer Carneval” (CC). Carnival time is not really over until Ash Wednesday. The symbolic burning of Hoppeditz finally signals the end and fasting begins.

Mer Kölsche danze us der Reih“- Carnival with the Jecken in Cologne

In Cologne, too, it has been that time again since November 11, 2017 according to the motto “Mer Kölsche danze us der Reih”: The carnival season was opened on the Alter Markt with well-known carnival bands and the current triumvirate. The Cologne triumvirate consists of one Princes, peasants and a maiden and is the representative figurehead for the upcoming carnival campaign. Since then, cult songs like those of the Höhner have been heard again throughout the city: “Be there! Dat it is great! VIVA COLONIA! ”And from everywhere there is only“ Kölle Alaaf! ”Around 160 carnival societies, home associations and neighborhood communities let the festival of festivals really crash with around 500 meetings, balls and parades. Carnival in Cologne is one of the world's largest and most famous Rhenish folk festivals.

In Cologne, too, the days before Ash Wednesday, i.e. this year until February 14th, are the busiest: from Weiberfastnacht to Carnival Tuesday, girls celebrate their favorite party in pubs, clubs and huge festival halls in colorful and impressive costumes. It really starts on Thursday with the colorful street carnival. On Weiberfastnacht, February 8, 2018, entire offices of foolish women are confiscated. From now on the whole city is on its feet! Already in the morning from 10 a.m. open-air sessions take place on the Alter Markt, which are even broadcast on television, with the best carnival bands Cologne has to offer. On Friday and Saturday evenings there is a party in pubs all over the city and Cologne carnival music can be heard everywhere.

On Carnival Sunday, the “Schull and Veedelszöch”, i.e. the school and district trains, march through the streets. The best of these foot and carriage groups can then be part of the procession on Rose Monday.

The Carnival Monday is also in Cologne next to the wild Weiberfastnacht High point of the street carnival. Around a million spectators stand in the streets to look at the floats and the great costumes and to let the music get them in the mood. In addition to the camels, i.e. the sweets that are thrown from the wagons, "Strüßje", i.e. small bouquets of flowers, are also distributed here. They're even more popular than the candy!

But even in Cologne the carnival comes to an end. On the night of Ash Wednesday, on Violet Tuesday, a man-sized, dressed straw doll is burned, which takes on the role of the scapegoat. This is considered a farewell ritual and is used by the people of Cologne asNubbel burndesignated. Accordingly, it is believed that any sin committed during Carnival should be forgiven.

"Just as the moon illuminates the night, Mainz Carnival shines out into the world"

True to this motto, this year theMeenzer Carnival to. Also on November 11th, the foolish constitution on Schillerplatz was announced in Mainz as the starting shot for the beloved and, above all, funny time, and the carnival time ushered in to the rhythm of the famous Narrhalla March.
With the New Year's Parade of the Garden, which traditionally takes place on January 1st, the coveted carnival season really started in Mainz. Since then, the fools have met every weekend up to Weiberfastnacht to take part in the famous carnival sessions. Tradition has it that each session must begin exactly 11 minutes past an hour. Only then does the Elferrat move into the festively decorated hall in pomp and glory.
On Carnival Thursday the time has finally come - theAltweiberfastnacht is opened at the Mainz Carnival Fountain. It then continues on Mardi Gras Saturday with the swearing in of recruits, during which an oath of loyalty to the Guard and to Mardi Gras is made on a derived oath from Prince Carneval.
But as before in Düsseldorf and Cologne, the climax of the atmospheric and humorous festival is the Rose Monday procession, which transforms the city center into a colorful sea. In Mainz, too, colorfully decorated carriages, music trains and gardens parade through the city on this day. However, something must not be missing here: the Meenzer Schwellköpp. These are oversized paper mache heads that embody the Mainz characters in a satirical exaggeration.

On Shrove Tuesday, the foolish hustle and bustle is finally completed by a cap ride. In numerous pubs and on Ludwigstrasse, Mainzer say goodbye to the campaign until next year and bury it.

Carnival with a difference

So far I have mainly introduced you to the traditions and customs of the carnival strongholds in the Rhineland, but carnival or "Mardi Gras" is also celebrated in other regions of Germany. I don't want to bore you with all of these many and varied traditions and customs because it would take you all night to introduce you to all of them. And it's actually much more interesting how you can have fun at Carnival in the less traditional way, isn't it? After all, there are a lot of people who enjoy dressing up, but prefer to celebrate the fifth season in a modern way, away from the old traditions. And of course that is also possible! Modern and hardly traditional carnival parties for all dress-up and theme party lovers can be found in every carnival stronghold and in many other cities in the area. From the small indie club to the large discotheque, almost every party location today uses the carnival season as an opportunity to throw large parties with colorful disguises and turn night into day.


Celebrate carnival, yes or no?

Whether in Düsseldorf, Cologne or Mainz - in all three carnival strongholds you can celebrate the 5th season with the craziest, most colorful costumes and atmospheric music, whether traditional or modern. But not everyone also likes this tradition. That's why there are real ones in many carnival regions Carnival fanatic camp and those who utterly disdain the carnival. And of course there are those who like to dress up, but don't like the traditional carnival customs that much. Personally, I am always open to the traditions and customs of the regions of the world, but I can understand when the exuberant speeches and costumes seem strange to one or the other. Which camp do you belong to?

Carnival time vacation? Why, surely!

Cologne, Düsseldorf and Mainz are the strongholds of the Rhineland Carnival. There is something going on all year round in these beautiful historic towns, but the fifth season tops it all off! For many residents of the Rhineland it is a must to take part in these celebrations and let the pig out. If you feel like staying in Cologne, Düsseldorf or Mainz for Carnival, but don't live nearby, don't hesitate and send me a free travel request or book a cheap hotel quickly! Because carnival is just around the corner.

Wonderful Germany


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