Carnival is one of the most dominant traditions in the Rhine area. It has its roots in Catholicism and coordinates with the time leading up to lent. The Jecken (those who celebrate carnival) celebrate from November 11 at 11:11am through Ash Wednesday.
The real celebration begins after the 1st of the year, when speeches and costume balls and other events take place. The highlights of the season are Altweiberfastnacht (the Thursday before the season’s end), Carnival Sunday (the following Sunday) and Rosenmontag.
Altweiberfastnacht is truly a day of mischief. One tradition involves women cutting off the ties of as many men as possible. But don’t feel too bad for the men—they receive a kiss on the cheek for their troubles.
On Carnival Sunday, hundreds and thousands of people meet at the Old Town and the Königsalle to celebrate the Carnival season together. They dress in costume, sing and dance for a day of general merriment.
The big finale is the amazing parade that takes on Rosenmontag. The parade is made up of more than 60 floats that are built over months by the individual carnival clubs (often with the support of many voluntary helpers). The intention of the parade wagons is to caricature and pick up current events in society or other heavily discussed topics. Children especially look forward to the “Kamelle” candies that are thrown to the crowd as the floats pass by.
It is almost impossible to explain how amazing the Carnival traditions of the Rhine area are– especially Carnival in Düsseldorf. This is one trip that you have to make for yourself!