The semester is over, most of the exams are (hopefully) already written, and FINALLY we are approaching the time that every student in Cologne is waiting for all year: Carnival.
The idea of Carnival originates in the time of the Greek and Roman who celebrated the winter solstice. But already since the 18th century carnival was celebrated very similar to how we know it today: with costumes on the streets. The name “carnival” is actually Latin: “carne vale” means “good bye to meat”, since carnival is not just a big celebration, but also the beginning of the fasting period. The first parade on “Rosenmontag” in Cologne, which is now very famous, was in the year 1823. Since then carnival in Cologne has gotten bigger and more popular every year and it also gained a lot of long-lasting traditions.
Nowadays the carnival session begins on the 11th of November and finds it peak in February, when the people in Cologne celebrate for five days from “Weiberfastnacht” (Thursday) until “Veilchendienstag” (Tuesday). “Weiberfastnacht” is known as the day on which women rule: Because of that, traditionally women are allowed to cut the men’s ties. On “Aschermittwoch” (Wednesday) carnival is over and the fasting period begins. Before that, in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, people burn all their old sins as part of the “Nubbelverbrennung”. Numerous carnival parades, at which you have to yell “Kamelle” in order to get sweets, accompany the five days of celebrations.
Carnival would for sure not be carnival without “Mettbrötchen”, “Berliner” and Kölsch, but still you better be careful: In huge parts of the center of Cologne glass bottles are not allowed on “Weiberfastnacht” as a security measure!