Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kölle Alaaf!!!

You might all know I'm a Colonian boy, but I don't know, if you already heard of our big tradition called Karneval (carnival)??? If not, I want to tell you a little more about it!!!

Carnival has been celebrated almost as long, as Cologne exists. And Cologne is more than 2000 years old!!! Once, there where Greek and Roman rulers in my city and they celebrated spring festivals to honor their Gods. And they celebrated with loads of wine, women and song...

Then, the ancient Germans took over Cologne and celebrated winter solstice to praise their Gods and as an expulsion of the winter demons. And we all know, winter demons can be very mean...

Later, the Christians celebrated the period of Lent, prior to Easter, as Karnival, a farewell to meat!!!

In the middle ages, the masquerade often took on drastic forms and the celebration of carnival was very wild!!! Many men dressed as the devil and behaved like it too, very much to the displeasure of the church, who tried to prohibit the carnival, but the people would not listen to them!!!

In 1794, Cologne was captured by French revolutionary troops and they allowed the Colonians to celebrate their carnival parades. Shortly after the French, the Prussians took control and oh, oh, they were stricter, because for the Colonian people, the carnival was a way to express anti-Prussian thoughts through parody and mockery. But whatever the Prussians tried to forbid carnival, did not prevent the natives from cultivating their traditions!!!

Carnival was soon romanticized and became bourgeois. And it became organized. Another new idea was the introduction of the carnival hero, today known as prince carnival!!!

Carnival is also called the 5th season and is declared open at 11 minutes part 11 a.m. on November 11th. The peoples carnival spirit is then temporarily suspended during the advent and Christmas period and picks up again in January. The street carnival, a week-long festival, takes place between the Thursday (Women's Carnival Day) before Rose Monday and ends on Ash Wednesday. The highlight of carnival is Rose Monday (Rosenmontag), celebrated with a huge parade in the streets of Cologne!!! More than 1 million spectators from all over the world come to see the Rose Monday parade every year!!! That makes Cologne carnival one of the largest street festivals in Europe!!!

On February 10, in 1823, Cologne celebrated it's first Rose Monday parade. Even involved was the former city militia called "Rote Funken". And not to forget the triumvirate (Dreigestirn), 3 people, who are granted the titles of virgin, peasant and prince. The virgin and peasant as a reminder of the former free imperial city of Cologne. And the prince as the highest representative of the festivities, leading the main carnival parades.

And now comes the best part about the carnival parades!!! People in the parades throw tons of "Kamelle" (sweets) to the spectators to celebrate the time before fasting with them!!! You may collect bags full of sweets and chocolates and chips and popcorn at the parades!!! And now comes the very best part about it... there is a carnival parade right outside my door on Sunday afternoon!!! If I open the window, they throw all that yummy stuff right into my livingroom!!!

So, cheer with me 3 times "Kölle Alaaf, Kölle Alaaf, Kölle Alaaf!!!" That means Cologne alone, but never shout "Helau" in Cologne!!! That's what they do in our neighbour city Düsseldorf and there is a big rivalry between Cologne and Düsseldorf!!! It all started in the 13th century, when the catholic Archbishop of Cologne lost a battle against troops from protestant Düsseldorf. They became rulers and made Düsseldorf more important than Cologne, although Cologne had already been a big and important city by that time and Düsseldorf had only been a nearby village!!! Needless to say Düsseldorf is still unimportant, even though it is todays capitol of North Rhine-Westphalia... Oh yes, Cologne got a raw deal again...

And now, guess what - I don't know many Germans on Twitter, but I found a friend from my neighbour city Düsseldorf there!!! Okay, she ain't a native Düsseldorf girl, maybe that's why we get along and I like to tease her for living in that dingy town of Düsseldorf!!! If you want to meet her, please visit @BettinaWagner!!!

Kölle Alaaf!!!


  1. Very interesting my friend. I know Bettina
    Wagner also - a very lovely lady. Your blog is always so very intresting.

  2. Hey Mookie, thanks for giving me a bit of German history! (((hugs)))

  3. are SO smart, Mookie! I'm quite impressed.

  4. Mookie, you is such a pawty anipal! That was furry interesting. It sounds like Mardi Gras in New Orleans! Don't furget to open your winder so you get some noms!

  5. Dear Mookie, thank you, this is a great post, informative, entertaining, funny & I can hear your love for your hometown in between the lines, this is so cute :) I hope to read much more of you :)))

    And thank you very much for the kind mentions, Mookie & Mario :)))

  6. Mookie Thank you so much for all the Info on your Great city, It makes me want to visit so much hopefuly one day I will !

    your friend Tweetypie/gunner

  7. Oh wow your carnival is beautiful and what a lot of interesting history, I think I will have to visit Cologne one day it looks so lovely.

  8. Kölle Alaaf Mein lieber Herr!, tut mir leid das ich so spät daran bin. Ich bin mit dein Blog sehr beeindrückt. Gut geschrieben, interessant und noch dazu geschichtlich! So was hätte ich von einem Anipal Blog nie erwartet.

    Gut Gemacht mein Herr, einfach fucking wunderbar!

    For our English speaking Anipal friends: It's an impressive blog, even more outstanding amongst the usual plague ratsie drivel.

    Cheers "Mookie" x


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