1. Chinese New Year
Though Chinese New Year is considered the most important holiday in China, it’s celebrated in countries the world over – including Germany.
2018 marks the Year of the Dog and officially kicks off on February 16th. But those of you who plan on visiting the nation's capital the first weekend of the month might be happy to know that celebrations start a bit earlier.
From February 1st to 3rd, dragon dances and musical performances will take place in the heart of Berlin at Potsdamer Platz. Don’t miss the fireworks display as it’s on for one night only – February 1st.
At the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, on February 20th a Chinese New Year concert will be held in the evening featuring the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra. This might be your only chance throughout the year to immerse yourself in China's rich, musical tradition in the Hanseatic city.
2. Montgolfiade Balloon Festival
For an enchanting sight, head down to the Bavarian Alps to catch the last few days of the Montgolfiade Balloon Festival at Tegern Lake, which began on 26th January and ends on 4th February.
In the 18th edition of the annual event, around 20 hot-air balloons in unusual shapes and colours take off daily against a backdrop of mountains and blue waters.
— Tanja Kinkel (@TanjaKinkel) January 28, 2018
The “highlight of the festival,” as it states on the event's website, will take place when the hot-air balloons “shine reddish in the evening sky” and create a glowing atmosphere – to take place in the evening on 3rd February.
An array of culinary delights and also an entertainment programme for children will round off the winter event.
For those who want to celebrate carnival differently than the ones involving parades, floats and revellers in silly costumes that take place in Cologne, Düsseldorf and other western cities in February, you might want to consider making your way to the Swabian region in Bavaria.
Here, you’ll find a more medieval, serious carnival tradition across the Black Forest region beginning on February 8th and lasting over two weeks. The town of Rottweil is particularly well known for an event which attracts up to 20,000 visitors each year – the Narrensprung (Fools’ Leap).
The Narrensprung in Rottweil, Baden-Württemberg. Photo: DPA
During the Fools’ Leap, which is scheduled in Rottweil on February 12th and 13th, thousands of people – many of them wearing hand-carved wooden masks – take to the streets in a bastion of spectacle.
Tired of blasé Hollywood films? Look no further. Berlinale, one of the world’s most notable film festivals, is coming soon to Germany's biggest city.
Our posters are finally hitting the streets of Berlin from today & you can bring our furry friend to your own four walls as well!
Choose your favourite one from our webshop: https://t.co/04poDbn2PG pic.twitter.com/75aUWLqud3
— Berlinale (@berlinale) January 22, 2018
Running from the 15th to the 25th of February, the festival celebrates its 68th edition this year. As always, on offer are movies ranging from independent and art house productions to some international premieres with A-list casts (‘Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot’ is a particular highlight).
Last year, the international film festival saw almost half a million theatre visits and welcomed over 17,000 guests from 127 countries.
5. Bremen Samba and Mask Festival
After a very wet and rather dark January, if you’re looking to cure those winter blues and splash your life with a little colour, this two-day masked festival in the Hanseatic city of Bremen might just be the ticket.
The Samba and Mask Festival in Bremen. Photo: DPA
Since 1986, each year, the downtown area of Bremen fills up with dozens of samba groups from Germany and beyond (the UK, Switzerland, Denmark, etc.), attracting over 40,000 spectators. This year’s theme is “Lost in Outer Space.”
On one weekend only – from 2nd to 3rd February – the 33rd annual event is sure to exhilarate once again. On Saturday a massive parade kicks off around lunchtime but those who wish to dance long into the night may also choose to do so.
6. Black History Month
While Black History Month has been observed in February in countries such as the US, the UK and Canada for a few decades now, it's been happening in Germany in recent years too.
The tradition dates back to the 1920s when an American historian initiated a series of events to draw attention to the cultural, economic and social achievements of the Afro-American population.
Nowadays the NGO Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland (Black People in Germany) organizes events to celebrate the history of black people in Germany.
In Berlin all through February the cultural centre Werkstatt der Kulturen will be hosting concerts, film screenings and parties with people from a range of fields, such as journalists, philosophers and civil rights activists.
While a few Black History Month activities in Hamburg kicked off in January, there’s still lots more on the programme, including a self-defence workshop and a lecture workshop series on the politics of afro hair.
7. ‘Oh Yeah! Pop Music in Deutschland’
For the music lovers out there, this exhibition is sure to float your boat. At the Communication Museum in Frankfurt, ‘Oh Yeah! Pop Music in Deutschland’ is on for the majority of the month until 25th February.
Grab a pair of headphones and take them with you to the various listening stations scattered across the exhibition. Travel through 90 years of pop music in Germany, starting from swing in the 1920s to punk, Neue Deutsche Welle, techno, hip hop and all sorts of modern day beats.
But don’t worry if you can’t make it to the financial hub this winter; the exhibition will make its way to Berlin, Leipzig and Stuttgart later this year.