Cologne carnival stretches across a week and the following days in reverse differentiate the activities lined up through the carnival.
The final day of the carnival, this is the day carnival goers try and remove their hangovers with a fish dinner, traditional to this region. All restaurants and pubs in the city on this day offer fish dinners to visitors, and also show a selection of television favorites.
Penultimate day of the carnival, parades wind through the suburbs of the city, mid-afternoon with variety of societies and groups in dresses. The parade and parties actually end up going way past midnight and includes a lot of weeping, wailing during the ceremonial burning of the “Nubbel”, basically a life-size straw figure.
Considered the Carnival climax, this is the largest parade held during the carnival and it begins at 10 AM, completely organized by the Carnival committee of 1823. A very colourful and amazing spectacle to behold, there are bouquets of flowers, spectators in fancy dresses, battle cries of Kolle Alaaf and so much more. Parties tend to spill out into the streets and also continue past midnight in pubs and restaurants.
This Sunday, the parade snakes its way through the city centre but only from 10:30 in the night. Various school groups take part in the costumes and dress competitions with masked balls and parties arranged across the city.
On Saturday, an early morning drink at 10:30Am is offered up called the Fruhschoppen. This is the day of parties and the entire day is spent just partying with no particular agenda.
A sober day at best, it is marked by masked balls in the evening and strolls across the city. A day to get used to the city before the real partying begins.
Women Carnival Day
The Thursday is lined up exclusively for women and he streets come alive with women dressed up in fancy dresses as they make their way from shops, offices and other places. After work hours, they all go to the Alter Markt and at 11:11AM, the Street Carnival is officially opened by the Virgin, The Peasant and the Prince. This is followed by cheerful music, dance performances and a procession to the Alter Markt.
Balls & Fools Gatherings
Stretching from the 11th November till the first day of the carnival it is known as the balls and fools gathering which gives immigrants and tourists along with local’s time to acclimatize for the crazy schedule ahead. There are masked balls and events held across the city during this period.