Thursday, 16 February 2012

"Alaaf zesamme!!" - German Carnival

Today is 'Weiberfastnacht' (Carnival Thursday) an unofficial holiday in Rhineland, Germany, that marks the beginning of the actual Carnival week that ends on Ash Wednesday. We also call the whole Carnival season 'Fifth Season'.

The celebration started today at 11:11am and commemorates an 1824 revolt by washer-women. Women storm city halls and cut off the ties of men - the tie being a symbol of the men's power. The men wear the blunt of their ties and get a 'Buetzchen' (little kiss) as compensation. People wear costumes and celebrate in the streets with music and drinks, children go in their costumes to school and have a little celebration there.

Cologne Carnival is the largest and most famous in North Rhine-Westphalia with its peak being 'Rosenmontag' (Rose Monday) where the biggest and most popular Carnival parades are held.

And obviously the costume is one of the most important things and there is a whole industry depending on it.

So here are a couple of impressions - some of them are quiet embarrassing:

Believe it or not -
that's me 32 years ago.
Back in 1987.
Rosenmontagszug (Rose Monday Parade)
in Bonn, Germany, 2006.

Rosenmontagszug in Cologne, Germany, 2006.
Photography by Rolf Hahn

Oh, and 'Alaaf!' is the official Carnival greeting in the Cologne/Bonn area.

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