German will pretty much non stop party towards the end of the Carnival, from Thursday Jan the 28Th until the big parades on Monday Feb. 3. Many businesses will just close; or the majority of employees simply won't show up. Most Cities have Monday parades (Cologne) like the annual Pasadena Rosebowl parade, but with plenty of alcohol.
The following has a number of links: German Carnival
Pic gallery Kölner Karneval: Bildergalerie
BTW, Roland560SEL is from Köln, and perhaps Kalifornia managed to make it back to his home town as well.
Carnaval in Germany || Cologne Karneval || Cologne City guide || LINKS || Kölsch Dialect
While well known Carnivals are held in southern German cities, and in the Rhineland cities of Mainz , Aachen, Bonn and Dusseldorf. Along the Rhine every town has a "Prinz" and "Prinzessin" (prince and princess) who command a uniformed guard, the "Prinzengarde" (prince's garde), The biggest and zaniest Rhine Karneval and for that matter, in all of Europe, is held in Köln (Cologne), Germany's oldest city where the Karneval is annually synthesized into a vivacious work of art.
The first written record of the Köln carnival is from the year 1341. Köln has the Dreigestirn (three Stars): the Carnival Prince (known as Seine Tollitдt, ‘His Craziness’), the Bauer (peasant) and the Jungfrau (virgin). The Jungfrau has always been a man. It is a great honour to be one of eleven (11) members of the Dreigestirn, and they are elected each October from the members of Köln’s 105 historic carnival associations.
In 1823, concerned citizens, mainly of the educated elite, formed Karneval societies for the purpose of creating a new image. The Romantic spirit of the times and renewed interest in classic Greece and Rome, provided inspiration for Karneval themes. A symbolic figure, Prinz Karneval, assisted by two other picturesque figures, the Kouml lnische Bauer (Cologne Peasant) and the Kouml lnische Jungfraü (Cologne Virgin, portrayed by a man) became the principals
The Köln carnival involves hundreds of street and pub-parties, where you come in costume. Many special fund-raising events are held in large halls. Your costume planned for Carnaval Monday can be unique or a group activity for on Rosenmontag you'll stand out for lack of a costume.
Officially it starts am elften elften elf Uhr elf (11th November at 11:11am) and continues in a fairly low-key way for about three months before the Tolle Tage (Crazy Days) which climax on Rosenmontag, the 42nd day before Easter. Koln a huge party that starts on Thursday (Altweiberfastnacht) and ends on Tuesday (Veilchendienstag) with the Nubbelverbrennung (burning the spirit of carnival to atone for the sins committed during the carnival session). Millions will be on the streets dressed in costume to cheer their royalties and friends on floats or marching in the parade for the Rose Parade on Carnival Monday.
After the official initiation in November, Karneval other important countdown dates are New Year's Day January 1st and the Festival of the Three Kings or Magi also know as the Epiphany), on January 6th.
Weiberfastnacht (women’s carnival night) is the Thursday before Rosenmontag, and it is tradition that women are allowed to cut off the tie of any man within reach, and to kiss any man they want to. This day also signals the beginning of the five days of Carnival with nearly 50 processions leading up to Monday's Rose Monday Parade
About 1.5 million people go to the Rosenmontag parade in Köln and many more watch the festivities on TV. For the many Karneval associations their biggest effort has gone into constructing their for the Rosenmontag parade. The floats not only try to be beautiful but also represent satirical, political and traditional topics . As the floats pass by, the costumed revellers aboard pelt the street crowds with throws and sweets while they sing the many old Karneval songs.
The Mariechen, acrobatic dancing troupes of girls entertain the crowds as part of the parade. In the parade the Carnival Prince has a royal bodyguard who are dressed in uniforms of the early 1800s. The Prinzengarde bodyguards remind the crowd of the city’s tradition of anti-militarism. This included disobeying orders by turning in the wrong direction and stuffing flowers into rifle-barrels.
Rosenmontag is not an official holiday but in areas of Germany that celebrate Karneval, workers usually get the day off.
On Shrove Tuesday the crazy couple will move with their retinue into the Rathaus (City Hall) to govern until midnight, when the merrymaking and foolishness comes to a sudden halt, yielding to the observation of Lent.