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Chilly Karneval kicks off in the Rhineland
Photo: DPA

Chilly Karneval kicks off in the Rhineland

Published: 07 Feb 2013 11:11 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Feb 2013 11:11 GMT+01:00

Germany's Karneval festivities got off to a chilly start on Thursday, as jesters stormed city halls across the Rhineland to kick off a week of booze, parties and parades.

According to the tradition of Weiberfastnacht, or the “Wenches Carnival,” hoards of women in the largely Catholic region descend on city halls at exactly 11:11 am to snip off men’s ties to show them who’s really boss.

Always on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, the day is also known as Fat Thursday, when men generally wear old ties in anticipation of losing this symbol of their manhood, a humiliation that is also traditionally soothed with a kiss.

In Düsseldorf, the women traditionally stage the mock arrest of the city’s mayor, while in Cologne the triumvirate of presiding fools, or Dreigestirn, takes hold of the keys to the city.

Thousands of costumed clownish revellers known as Narren took to Cologne’s streets despite extremely chilly weather. Broadcaster WDR even forecast snow showers for the day.

Besides classic clown outfits, this year’s most popular outfits included characters from The Hobbit movie.

But Trier has decided to ease into Karneval this year, instituting a ban on booze in the old town until 7pm on Thursday. The city is hoping to avoid a repeat of teenage excesses last year, when 60 youths suffered injuries and alcohol poisoning.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:36 February 7, 2013 by leonardomgoes
Really stupid subtitle on the guide to Karneval. First, samba dancers can be anyone that dances samba. Second, the women in the samba school parades are not naked. Third, Rio carnaval is the most famous of the world. Fourth, Cologne only? Why not about Düsseldorf also?
21:30 February 7, 2013 by Jude the Obscure
The above is hands down the most ridiculous, cloth-eared comment every written in the history of the internet.
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