Published on : Tuesday, January 31, 2017
The excitement is building as Germany’s carnival hotspots prepare for what locals call the ‘fifth season of the year’. Germany’s carnival season, which officially began on November 11, is now in full swing and is nearing its big finale with Women’s Day, Rose Monday and Ash Wednesday.
Millions of people join in the revelry in the run-up to Lent, with many of them donning brightly coloured and sometimes scary costumes.
The most popular place to experience carnival-time in Germany is in the
Rhineland cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf and Mainz in the west of Germany.
Traditionally the street carnivals here begin in the early hours of Women’s Day (23 February in 2017), with celebrations continuing well into the night, both on the streets and in the bars.
The pinnacle of the Rhineland carnival has to be the decorated floats, fancy-dress troupes, marching bands and horseriders that make up the Rose Monday carnival processions, which in 2017 will be held on 27 February. These parades stretch back for miles and miles, and the Cologne event is the biggest in Germany, attracting some 1.5 million people every year.
Though each region has its own name for the carnival period – karneval, fastnacht, fasnet, fasching and fastelovend – they all welcome visitors young and old to join the celebrations.