It’s the final countdown: The end of the “fifth season” will be celebrated on February 11th. Last year at this time, I told you what carnival is about and how we celebrate it in Düsseldorf. This time, I’d like to tell you about our carnival mascot: the Hoppeditz.
Every year, on November 11th at 11:11 am the Hoppeditz, a jester of sorts, wakes up and drops out of a mustard pot. Why a mustard pot? Well, because Dusseldorf is famous for its mustard! The Hoppeditz then begins the carnival season with a speech in which he roasts the city of Dusseldorf and our mayor. It is always a good laugh and the mayor always enjoys playing along. From there, the Hoppeditz acts as a sort of master of ceremonies throughout the Fifth Season, partaking in the many Carnival related festivities.
The Hoppeditz has been a central figure here in Dusseldorf and in 1841 a monument was built in his honor. At the unveiling of the monument 200 white pigeons were released. Attached to them a message of Carnival was sent out to the world. The unveiling resulted in such a celebration that fireworks were set off and residents partied throughout the night.
The monument existed only until 1860. There was a shift in attitudes and no longer was it considered appropriate for public. During that time carnival and the Hoppeditz was celebrated behind closed doors. Thankfully, in 1937 the public opinion once again shifted. For the first time carnival was celebrated at the Burgplatz and it continues like this today. We also have a new monument, erected in 2008 to commemorate the beloved Hoppeditz.
Unfortunately, the Hoppeditz only has a short lifespan. On Ash Wednesday he is carried to his “grave” in a funeral procession that signifies the start of Lent. But there is no need for tears, as he will return to Dusseldorf again at the start of the next Carnival season.
If you have an opportunity to partake in the Carnival events this year – take it! It is truly one of the most exciting and amusing times in Dusseldorf.