Cologne Street Carnival: the Best Time to Visit Cologne or the Best Time to Leave the City?..
Posted on Mar 02, 2017 by Bimbino
Actually the Cologne carnival season starts on the 11th of November. On that day the whole city goes totally crazy. Starting from the 11th of November until the end of the carnival season on Ash Wednesday you can often see people wearing costumes and singing carnival songs in bars and on private gatherings of the carnival associations.
The widely known Cologne street carnival happens during an extended weekend of February or March, which is getting calculated by the church according to Easter and the moon. People, who are religious and know the customs of the christian church, probably know this, but for me the calculation process was a secret so far. Easy: the first Sunday after the first full moon in spring is Easter Sunday, and 47 days before is the last day of carnival - Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras). Basically, the famous Cologne carnival time are the six days before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent (fasting time). Therefore people eat, drink, commit sins as much as they can, before they have to clean their souls and bodies during the forty days of fasting. The madness starts on Thursday...
Carnival in the bars
The madness starts on Thursday with long queues in front of the bars. Already early in the morning people go to the pubs and start drinking. This is not my favourite part of the Cologne carnival, not the because of the drinking, but the because of the bars, which are overcrowded and too warm. It is nearly impossible to stay inside for more than ten minutes. The only way to do so is by drinking ten Kölsch straight away and getting so drunk that nothing matters anymore. In the end the street carnival in Cologne is more of a bar carnival. People do walk and celebrate on the streets, but only while watching parades or going from one pub to another. I guess, it is too cold to stay stay outside all the time, therefore people are more willing to drink and dance inside.
Carnival on the streets
Throughout carnival most bars are full, there are parades in different parts of the city and the trams and busses are overcrowded with drunk singing people. Polka, polka, polka! Interesting fact: the DJ who makes the crowd most happy is the one, who manages to play about ten well known carnival songs in a perfect sequence repeating "Leev Marie"
at least three times in an hour.
Rose Monday is the day of the biggest parade in the city. All the roads in the city center are blocked. The big day has come!
There are many sides to the Cologne carnival. This was my third carnival, and every time in the end I tell myself that I wouldn't do it again. Done everything, seen everything, even learnt some song lyrics. But when the street carnival starts I get the carnival fever and go to the overcrowded bars, get drunk on Kölsch (Yes! It is possible if you drink ten of them in one hour), sing and dance to the songs I actually hate, suffer from hangover every morning. I tell myself for the third time in my life: "I won't do that again. It was my last carnival in Cologne." Let's see what the next year brings..
The post is written by Inga.