What many people probably don’t know: Carnival is celebrated in Germany’s Ruhr region, too. It all gets started on Fat Thursday with Weiberfastnacht (“Women’s Night”) on 4 February 2016 and comes to a festive conclusion the following Monday – Rose Monday. In between there’s a lot going on. Here’s a brief overview…
Thursday, 4 February
The festivities start on Thursday with Weiberfastnacht, or Women’s Carnival. Men beware! Ties and shoelaces are fair game all day long as “wild women” snip off their collection of trophies. The big party is that evening. But this being Women’s Night, men aren’t allowed until the morning.
Friday & Saturday, 5 & 6 February
Friday and Saturday are full of warm-up parties for Rose Monday. Theme parties are especially popular. Carnival-goers try to outdo each other with the most extravagant costume! So-called Prunksitzungen (“pomp sessions”) are held on Saturday. These sessions include a satirical look back at the events of the past year. Then comes the Gardetanz, a sort of Carnival chorus line. That may all sound a bit strange, but it’s a lot of fun – especially if it’s your first time!
Sunday, 7 February
Every other year on Sunday, there’s only one place to be: the Wattenscheid Carnival Parade. If you want something a little less raucous, children’s carnival parades are held in almost every town.
Monday, 8 February
Monday is the big day: Things get going early, at around 8.00 am, to get the best places along the parade route. The carnival parades here aren’t as big as in Düsseldorf or Cologne, but they are every bit as colourful. After the parade, it’s off to the disco to keep on partying. Most discos open already at 11.00 am for a whole day of fun.
Tuesday, 9 February
Shrove Tuesday – here called Veilchendienstag, or Violet (as in the flower) Tuesday – is a day of rest. Wednesday then is a day of mourning. After all, it marks the beginning of the fasting season…