The start of the carnival on 11.11. has, as expected, led to a mass rush in Cologne. On Friday afternoon, the city asked all those celebrating not to make their way to the Zülpicher district, but to go to other places in the city. Admission to the entrances to the event areas in Cologne's old town had already been stopped due to capacity occupancy. The city announced that the Cologne transport company had stopped most of the traffic on the light rail lines in the inner city area. The police also spoke of a large rush.
The new carnival session was opened on Friday at 11:11 am in Cologne, Düsseldorf and other strongholds of foolish merriment. In Cologne alone, tens of thousands of people in costume celebrated on the streets and in the pubs. "Not everything works out in Cologne, but what we can definitely do is celebrate," said entertainer Guido Cantz on WDR television.
"We have the best conditions with the wonderful weather and the withdrawal symptoms that we have endured for two years," said Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker (independent). Last year was November 11th. also celebrated, but still under Corona conditions. The year before, the start of the carnival was completely canceled due to the pandemic.
Almost 1,100 police officers and 150 employees of the public order office were deployed in Cologne to keep the cheerfulness in a more or less regulated direction. The responsible department head of the public order office, Dirk Schmaul, warned the revelers "not to urinate in the house entrances and to behave a bit".
200 years of Cologne Carnival
Mayor Reker said that the nice thing about the Cologne carnival is that everyone stands together: "It doesn't matter what the origin story is or the family history." This gives special support in times of crisis. Incidentally, Cologne is going into a very special session because this time 200 years of Cologne Carnival is being celebrated.
The origins of carnival go back much further, but in the winter of 1822/23 some representatives of Cologne's upper class took measures to domesticate what they considered to be too crude and anarchic carnival activities. Their role model was the cultivated Venetian carnival. The citizens founded a "regulating committee" and invented a romantic mask procession, for which they were probably inspired by the Corpus Christi processions of the Catholic Church. This resulted in the later Shrove Monday parades and the entire organized carnival in other cities as well.
In Düsseldorf, the day began with the traditional "Hoppeditz Awakening". In Mainz and other regions of Germany, too, the fools started the "fifth season".
Mainz fools "uff die Gass"
Under a cold November sky, more than a thousand people swayed in the carnival mood in Mainz. Punctually at 11:11 a.m. on Friday, they dared a first Helau before the presidents of two district associations passed the "Foolish Basic Law" on 11.11. wanted to read.
The fools from Mainz and the surrounding area were not put off by the autumnal weather and went out into the streets early in the morning in colorful costumes. "We're celebrating our eleventh wedding anniversary today," said Bianca and Frank. "We got married on November 11th because we are die-hard Fasenachters." They are active in the "Eiskalte Brüder" club - "we don't mind the cold at all."
After two years with corona restrictions, boisterous celebrations in the four carnival colors of blue, yellow, red and white were possible again for the first time. The foolish hotspot was the Schillerplatz in Mainz with the carnival fountain. 16 music groups or soloists were announced on a stage in front of the baroque Osteiner Hof, starting with the Mainz court singers. "Schillerplatz can endure anything, and that's why we will present all facets of Mainz art," said Thomas Neger, whose song "Im Schatten des Doms" expresses Mainz's attitude to life.