Quick Guide For The Karneval Season in Cologne, Germany


“Life is too short to drink bad wine!”  is Iris Shafie motto. She likes to drink good wine loves Port… Basically everything except beer. Iris started testing and traveling in her early twenties and lately shares her experiences at Meine Auslese. As a girl from the German Rhineland and Karneval is a big part of her life. A family tradition. Nothing more, nothing less. Like going to church on christmas. Basically.

“Life is too short to drink bad wine!”

For the last couple of years Iris has been telling me how special is Karneval season in Cologne. Her enthusiasm is so contagious that I asked her to share a bit of her own experience with us!

Here is a quick guide for the Karneval Season in Cologne:

It all starts on Thursday…

Good Morning and Hello “Weiberfastnacht” – like every year the girls day of Karneval. We start at 11.11 am nd everyone shouts ALAAF!!! If you now find a guy with a tie in your office or on the street, grab it and simply cut it of. It’s tradition! It’s midday and I’m dressing up for the “Mädchensitzung”… Girls are only the ones allowed in the audience but men can be on stage. Of course! For the fun of it!  We enjoy prosecco and wine…Yes, on thursdays it can get a little crazy.


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A bit tired still I start the day -with a hell lot of coffee. The radio is playing karneval songs and absendmindedly I start to sway back and forth while doing the dishes. I know every line by heart. “In unsrem Veedel…” In the afternoon I head out to the biggest karneval-party in Köln. Dressed up in my costume I enter a cab. The driver is from India. So we chat about Karneval, the Holi-Fest and family traditions… Nice to meet another open-minded soul! The closer I get to the party the more people in costumes walk along. Clowns, Vikings, Zebras, Nurses and Hippies exit cars or the tram. The “Lachende Kölnarena” hosts more then 16.000 costumed karneval fans. Now I am totally excited to see all my favourite karneval bands. Live on stage. Let’s get the party started..


Todays only motto: Rejuvenating!!! It was a looong night. Did not get home until 2ish… So the sofa is mine! No karneval songs today! I have to prepare for tomorrow – the start of my outdoors karneval activities… But when I hear my neighbours partying on the balcony, playing all those songs. My feet get itchy…

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“Rathauserstürmung” (Conquering of town hall) in my hometown. Lots going on. All those people in their colorful suits… Red, green and blue – uniforms in resemblance of  Napoleons regime. Every corps has its own traditions and rites.  And believe me: There is nothing more serious in Karneval then being in traditional regiment. Booom. Booom. I hate those loud canonball-shots! They use this fake but loud gas-canon every year and still I can not get used to it. The Karneval crowd now literally forces the mayor to leave town hall until “Aschermittwoch”. The parades can start… Yay!

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It’s “Rosenmontag”, the most important day of Karneval. “D’r Zoch kütt!” Hundreds and thousands of people dress up in their costumes to walk with the big parade. Even more people build the audience… The last waggon in every year is Prince Karneval. He throws tons of sweets into the audience. For non-karnevalistic people the Prince might be a strange guy in tights. To his allegiance he is everything. And depending on how big the city he reigns in is, is the amount of money you have to bring in order to get the job. It’s a Robin Hoddesque kind of role: Take from the rich and give to the poor…

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It’s “Veilchendienstag”. While several others are still partying and attending parades to me this means tidying up, tucking costumes away, relaxing and enjoying some more last Karneval songs… Tonight at 12 pm the Nubbel – a puppet made of straw will be burned in front of several bars and pups. The puppet pays our bills as culprit for all our Karneval sins… Thanks Nubbel! Highly appreciated.

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Today is Aschermittwoch and Karneval is over until it will start again on november 11th… Back to business as usual 🙂

And if you have never experienced Karneval in and around Cologne: Come on over and party with us! It is MUCH MORE then the cliche of sex, drugs and alcohol. It is about making friends, keeping old traditions, having fun and enjoying life! Sometimes you even meet your future husband or wife this way… No kiddingphoto 4

1 comment

  1. Pingback: Quick Guide For The Karneval Season in Cologne, Germany – Meine Auslese

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