Stay put- together is the message today in freezing Duesseldorf and Cologne, two German cities on the river Rhine. The next Carnival is coming! Officially planned to start today with Fat Thursday (Altweiberfastnacht) , Carnival 2021 was officially thrown into the water.
“Just let us stay put together” is the message by organizers. The Cologne Carnival Celebration Committee, which was founded in 1823.
No parades, no events. No tourists, no dancing in the old towns, no sway, no parties- just listen to WDR Radio at home. Carnival, also known as the fifth yearly season is not happening in 2021, except in virtual form.
Carnival is the most fun time during the year, but today it’s a sad, sad day for those living in Duesseldorf and Cologne: “Karneval is in our DNA”
Traditionally, the “fifth season” (carnival season) is declared open at 11 minutes past 11 on the 11th of the 11th month of November. The Carnival spirit is then temporarily suspended during the Advent and Christmas period and picks up again in earnest after 6 January, Epiphany, in the New Year.
In Cologne, the time of merrymaking in the streets is officially declared open at the downtown square “Alter Markt” on the Thursday before the beginning of Lent. Street carnival, a week-long street festival, also called “the crazy days”, takes place between Fat Thursday (Weiberfastnacht) and Ash Wednesday (Aschermittwoch).
The highlight of the carnival is Rose Monday (Rosenmontag), two days before Ash Wednesday. All through these days, Cologne folks go out masqueraded. The typical greeting during the festival is Kölle Alaaf!, a Kölsch phrase. In Duesseldorf the phrase is Helau. Both cities are in deep competition over beer and carnival. In Cologne, everyone drinks “Koelsch”, in Duesseldorf “Alaaf. The beer is still available, but it has to be taken home.