Opening of the Carnival Season in Germany Date in the current year: November 11, 2016

Opening of the Carnival Season in Germany On November 11 at 11:11 AM, the carnival season is declared open in Germany. It is sometimes referred to as “the fifth season”. The biggest celebration occurs in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia.

There are two variations of carnival celebrations in German-speaking countries. In the west of Germany, the Rhenish Carnival (Fasching) is celebrated, while in Swabia, Alsace, Vorarlberg, and Switzerland they have Swabian-Alemannic Carnival (Fastnacht). Fasching begins on November 11, and the beginning of Fastnacht falls on the Feast of Epiphany (January 6).

The Rhenish Fasching is larger and more famous than the Alemannic Fastnacht. It centers on three cities, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Mainz, but other cities and towns throughout the Rhineland also hold celebrations. The Cologne carnival is the most spectacular.

Modern Cologne carnival began in 1823, although the first written record of carnival in Germany dates back to the late 13th century. The official carnival is run by a special committee and includes parades and stage shows. Every year there are three people who are granted the titles of the prince (Prinz), the virgin (Jungfrau) and the farmer (Bauer).

The carnival in Germany culminates on Rosenmontag (the Monday before Ash Wednesday).

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