Do you know German carnival?

While the Brazilian carnival certainly enjoys high popularity around the world, there are other carnival festivities that you need to know, if you consider yourself a globetrotter. One example is the German Carnival (in German: Karneval).

The beginning of the carnival session

The traditional annual celebrations start on November, 11th at 11.11 am. The undisputed capital of carnival in Germany is Cologne (find more information about the carnival in Cologne here ). Thousands of so-called “Jecken” (typical German vocabulary for carnival revelers) get together on the streets to celebrate – despite the mostly low temperatures in November. However, the carnival tradition is not spread in every region, but mainly in the Rhineland, which is a located in the west of Germany.

The fifth season

In the subsequent year, the carnival festivities (also called the “fifth season”) start on Thursday – this year on February, 8th 2018. On this day, men need to watch out for women armed with scissors! Do you want to know why?

Men, who wear suits, should pay attention, because women will approach them and cut off their ties. This is a tradition, which shows the symbolic annulment of social distinction between employers and employees. Since predominantly men used to be employers back then, this tradition established in its present form.

Thus, it is highly advisable to wear the least beautiful and cheapest tie, that a man can find in his closet!

Street carnival

The street carnival in Cologne begins on Thursday at – have a quick guess – 11.11 am. People, who cannot get enough of carnival, can already participate in the first celebrations in front of the train station and the dome at 7.30 in the morning.

The following days of carnival are characterized by street parties, shows and colorful parades. Depending on the city, the parades take place between carnival Saturday and Tuesday – the most famous ones on Rose Monday (in Cologne, Mainz and Duesseldorf). The biggest parade in Germany takes places in Cologne, where over one hundred vehicles slowly move through the streets. The “Jecken” on top of the vehicles throw “Kamellen” (typical German vocabulary for sweets) into the crowd. For this reason, some people bring bags to collect their crop.

The celebrations end on Ash Wednesday – this year on February, 14th 2018.

Would like to know, how to celebrate the real carnival in Cologne? Then have a look at these insider tips:

How to blend into German carnival in Cologne

Cologne is famous for its shouting “Kölle Alaaf”. This exclamation more or less translates into “Cologne first” or “Everything after Cologne is worse”. Nowadays, revelers use it as a joyful shout on the streets and it is also part of several carnival songs. In other cities, a simple “Alaaf” is enough. To blend in, say it as loud and as often as possible!

The probably most popular beverage among the carnival revelers is the beer named “Kölsch”. You can order a “Kölscher Kranz”, which is a construction for you to carry eight or more beers for you and your friends.

There are a lot of typical carnival songs, which every true carnival fan knows by heart. They are played everywhere – on the streets, in the bars, pubs and clubs. One of them is called “Viva Colonia” by Höhner. Basically, this song is a homage to Cologne, a joyful life and a lot of fun.

Learn the chorus of this song and be part of the amazing atmosphere, that this song creates:

Da simmer dabei! Dat es prima! VIVA COLONIA!
Wir lieben das Leben, die Liebe und die Lust
wir glauben an den lieben Gott und han auch immer Durst

If you follow those advices, you will surely have a great time at the German carnival in Cologne!


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