From 11th November until the world-famous spectacle of the Cologne Carnival, locals and tourists celebrate the crazy season with numerous fancy-dress gatherings and masked balls.
Motto 2014: Zokunf - Mer Spingkse, Wat kütt
Women's Carnival Day
Early in the morning, the streets are alive with women in fancy dress on their way to the office, their place of work or to shops, and from 10.00 a.m. they all head towards the Alter Markt. At 11.11 a.m. the Street Carnival is officially opened at the Alter Markt by the three principal Carnival figures: the Prince, the Peasant and the Virgin. At 13.30, Historical play “Jan un Griet” (Jan von Werth Carnival society) at the Severinstor, followed by a procession to Alter Markt to honour the Jan von Werth memorial with cheerful music and dance performances.
In the afternoon and evening: masked balls and parties.
In the morning, you might come across the odd "survivor" of "Weiberfastnacht" if you go for a stroll through the city. A tour of the city is always worthwhile: coach trips from the Cologne Tourist Board. In the evening: masked balls and parties
Following a traditional Cologne "Frühschoppen", or early-morning drink, at 10.30 a.m. you should head for the "Funkenbiwak" at Neumarkt. The city is overflowing with "Jecken" or Carnival figures by the afternoon. In the evening: parties, parties and even more parties
Parade through the city centre from 10:30 p.m.: School groups in fancy dress and original costumes of clubs in the city quarters. In the evening: masked balls and parties
The climax of the Carnival with the large official parade from 10:30 a.m., organized by the Cologne Carnival Committee of 1823: It is a colourful spectacle with sweets (“Kamelle”), little bouquets of flowers (“Strüßjer”), pecks (“Bützje”) and over one million of spectators in fancy dress. This year's motto: “Each jester to their own red nose“ All day the city echoes to the sounds of the Carnival battle cry: "Kölle Alaaf", which means "Long live Cologne!"
Evening: the celebrations continue in halls, restaurants and pubs
In the afternoon, parades in Cologne's suburbs with Carnival groups and societies in fancy dress. After the midday parades in Cologne suburbs the party goes on until at midnight, amid great weeping and wailing, the “Nubbel” (a life-size straw figure) is ceremonially burnt.
The end. Carnival "survivors" soothe their hangover with a traditional fish dinner in one of the many restaurants and pubs.