Come one, come all is the name of this game, or should I say Karneval!
I wrote an earlier post documenting the start of the very famous Karneval here in Köln, which happened on November 11 @ 11:11, and I feel as though I should report on the closing ceremonies of this festival.
Oh boy where do I start – my first Karneval was quite the adventure. After Deutschkurs on Thursday (Feb. 27) it basically meant the shutdown of the city of Köln and a huge welcoming crowd of drunk people in costumes for 5 days straight. It wasn’t all that bad though. It all started with a party at our house on Friday Feb 28 with all our guests dressed in costumes, of course. Yes, we even listened to more than 100 Colonian Karneval specific songs, which as the saying goes – you start to learn the lyrics the more Kölschs you have! I was Minnie Mouse this year, but after seeing how much effort and attention people put into their costumes I felt as though next year I should have a more elaborate one. So I gave away the fact that there will be a next year…
Saturday was spent around the house…(no Kölschs)
Sunday was spent going over a friend’s house for dinner and on the way home, man was there a lot to see… The streetcars were jam-packed with super, super drunk locals and tons of tourists trying to make sense of the whole affair. Or was that only me, not sure, but in any event it was quite funny to watch.
Although, once home it was good to put my feet up with – ta-daa! – a Kölsch and sing a couple of my Colonia favourites: Viva Colonia; Et Trömmelche; Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht – catchy tunes they are.
Monday marked yet another unique experience. So you know how you wake up super early to try to get front row seats to a show you want to see and then you find out that it was cancelled? Well, imagine that, except different. I woke up around 9 AM to try to get a front row view to a parade that is the epitome of Karneval in Köln – the “Rosenmontagszug”. More than 60 groups with elaborate floats all celebrating the climax of the Karneval season by throwing tons of candies (Kamelle!), toys and flowers (Strüssjer!) into the crowds. Quite fun! One thing to note is this show takes about 5 hours from start to finish and washrooms are hard to come by, just saying.
On the positive side, you can, if you have a good seat, get many bags full of candies and lots of beautiful flowers that you can later turn into arrangements. That’s exactly what I did! I made flowers arrangements and sorted all the candies into “priority eating” piles vs. “to be sent away” piles – yes, I did get that much candy! Honestly, I felt like a kid again, because it reminded me so much of Halloween, expect no knocking on people’s door, so less work, but more crowded.
Although, the whole point of the Karneval is being among crowds!