About Cologne Carnival
One of the largest street festivals in Europe, the Cologne Carnival is an event that shouldn’t be missed. It takes place in the city of Cologne in Germany, and is an event of great importance to the city and it’s cultural history. The first Rose Monday was celebrated on February 10, 1823 and since then countless traditions and customs have been adopted to bring life to the carnival. Every year, approximately 1,000,000 people come to experience the prestige of the Rose Monday Carnival Parade (Rosenmontag), which is undoubtedly the premier event of the carnival.
The Cologne Carnival takes place during the “carnival season” which traditionally begins at 11 minutes past 11:00 on the 11th of November. The many activities of the carnival – parades, masquerades, the museum, dance parties – are then distributed through the “fifth season” until Ash Wednesday on February 10, 2016. It is an event beaming with culture and pride; full of excitement and fun for people of all ages.
The infamous Rose Monday Parade is the climax of the Carnival. In 2016 in takes place on Monday February 8th. It’s a colorful festival that contains 120 marching bands and 74 intricate floats – which are traditionally used to poke fun at currently political and social issues. Over 1,000,000 people gather in costume to watch the parade. Have fun creating a costume of your own to join the festivities! The more colorful, the better.
Expect to have many flowers and sweets (Strubjer and Kanelle) as they are tossed from the floats during the parade. Meanwhile, the entire day will be full of dancing as you groove alongside the other spectators and enjoy the color of the event. Also, be sure to arrive early and pick a good spot to watch the parade. You’ll want to have a good view and be around a fun crowd. Good areas to go are the Kolner Dom and near the Staatstheater.
For a full six days, expect Cologne to be partying, dancing, singing, and being merry! The bars will be packed and full of energy. People will be dressed in costumes, so be sure to come prepared with something flashy of your own (many bars deny entry to patrons without a costume on). Arrive early in the evening to have good conversations with the locals before things get too wild. There will be a lot of singing and dancing; every party is a grand celebration of life. Carnival Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are bound to be full of parties wherever you go. Masquerade balls are of the most popular to attend, so come in costume and dance the night away.
The Cologne Carnival Museum
After the carnival is over, and you’re tired from all the festivities, the Cologne Carnival museum can be a great place to unwind. Here you’ll find a collection of history about the carnival – it’s origins, traditions through the years, cultural impact, etc. It’s nice to learn where the traditions come from after you’ve been able to experience them first hand.
Cologne Carnival Youtube/Video
Cologne Carnival Dates
- Cologne Carnival 2016:Feb.04-10
- Cologne Carnival 2015:Feb.12-18