Sunday, 14 February 2010

Carnival Sunday

Carnival SundayTomorrow is the day of the nationally-televised Cologne 'Rosenmontag' parade, and today is the less-crowded warm-up event, which takes the same route through the city and represents local schools and districts (Schull und Veedelszög parade). We decided to brave the snow and take the opportunity to have a look.

The schools that put on a really good display today are chosen to parade again tomorrow: this is a hotly-contested gig.

As it's Carnival, even the people watching the parade are expected to dress up - so we went as a Prisoner, Little Devil, Bird and Showgirl. Sometimes it's hard to know who is meant to be parading and who's just a bystander.

Children come to the parade clutching big, empty bags, which people from the parade fill with sweets. April got into the spirit of the parade, as you can see in the photo (bottom right).

PS - Several bystanders turned up with ironing boards (see photo, middle left), which they used as tables for their beers and snacks. Ingenious.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Carnival photo collage

Some photos I took today...Carnival images, Cologne

Top row: me with some clown musicians; wigs on sale in a fancy dress shop; a carnival clown cake

Bottom row: carnival street sign; party bus; carnival folk in front of the cathedral

Kissed in Cologne!

It's 'Karneval' once again! Today is the start of 6 days of partying and 17 parades through and around the town. There will be an estimated 1.5 million people attending the big 'Rosenmontag' parade on Carnival Monday.

This year's carnival motto is 'Kissed in Cologne' which I am guessing was chosen because Carnival Sunday happens to fall on Valentine's Day. There is also a custom on Carnival Thursday (known as 'Weiberfastnacht', which roughly translates as 'Women's Carnival Day') which allows women to go up to any man wearing a tie and give him a kiss in exchange for cutting off his tie. I expect bargain tie shops will be doing a good trade today.

with 'the band'Braving this morning's sub-zero temperatures, I headed into town to take some photos of the chaos. Here I am at the main train station. I saw this band and asked to take their picture. They persuaded me to be in the photo instead, for the price of a kiss. My carnival experience is living up to this year's motto!

Here are crowds of early revellers, spilling out of the main station and making their way into town.

More revellers. Note the 'Yippee'!

More about carnival...