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Celebrating the Carnival in Germany: dates, celebration, conventional congratulations, greetings, traditions and customs on the Carnival

On this page you will find a description of the Carnival festivities in Germany. Celebration dates by year, customs and traditions common for Germany on the Carnival, a description of the origin, congratulations & greetings.

  Dates for the Carnival celebration in Germany

The date of the Carnival celebration in Germany remains unchanged every year and falls on 11 November.

The Carnival celebration date in Germany:
Monday 11 November 2024 .

Below is a list of dates for celebrating the Carnival in Germany by year, provided that in previous and subsequent years the present practice and time of the holiday celebration is preserved:

  Other names of the holiday

Holiday name in German: Fasching.

We are not aware of any other names for the Carnival in Germany.

  Holiday status in the territory of Germany

Carnival is not an extra non-working day in Germany.

  Wishes and congratulations, greetings on the Carnival in Germany

Participants in carnival processions and raucous celebrations greet each other with special words, customary in their parts. For example, "Helau", "Ahoi", "Hio", "Nürnberg, aha!", "Heijo", "Hummel, Hummel - Mors, Mors!", "Hallau", "Alaaf" and many others. The origin and, accordingly, the exact meaning of most of the greetings is vague, they most likely have to do with religion.

  Description of the Carnival celebration: customs and traditions:

Carnival season in Germany

In Germany, the Carnival season begins on November 11 at 11:11 a.m. and lasts for several weeks or even months until the beginning of the Lent, the date of which falls on February or early March. During this period, street processions take place on days set in advance in different cities of Germany. The table below contains the main dates and periods of the celebration. In Germany, the carnival is called the fifth season, i.e. there is winter, spring, summer, autumn and carnival.

Time period Description
November 11 at 11:11 a.m. The beginning of the carnival season in some regions of Germany: carnival procession.
November 12 to January 5 There are usually no carnival processions
January 6 or 7 January 6. The Feast of the Three Kings, Epiphany, or immediately after, the beginning of carnival, buffoon time in many German-speaking countries.
Fat Thursday The main carnival week in Germany begins with "Fat Thursday" (or "Women's", "Woman's" Thursday), the week before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
Sooty or Greasy Friday The Friday following Fat Thursday. Usually a quiet day of the carnival week.
Greasy or Fat Saturday The Saturday following Sooty Friday. Usually a quiet day of the carnival week.
Tulip or Orchid Sunday The Sunday following Greasy Saturday. Carnival processions take place here and there.
Pink or Rose Monday The climax of the carnival season is Pink or Rose Monday, one day before Ash Wednesday.
Pan-cake Day (Shrove Tuesday; Fat Tuesday or Carnival Tuesday) The last day of the carnival season. Carnival processions take place here and there.

Carnival week, names of the carnival week days

The last week of the carnival season, which is also the week preceding the Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday, is of particular importance during the carnival period. This week starts on Thursday and ends on Tuesday. Each day of this week has a different name; yet, these names may differ in different regions of Germany. The list below contains the names popular in Germany:

The exact dates of the carnival week depend on the Lent start date, which changes annually. For current and future dates of the carnival days in Germany see our list of holidays for the year you need, the months of February and March.

Carnival processions in Germany: Rhine, Cologne and other carnivals

The main traditional places for carnival processions in Germany are in the Rhineland (in German: Rheinland), which is located in the federated states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, and in the Rheinhessen (in German: Rheinhessen) region of Rhineland-Palatinate. Although the carnival processions take place at different times in different cities of the country, the capitals of the German carnival are Düsseldorf, Cologne and Mainz. The carnival processions also take place in the following cities, usually on different days of the carnival week:

Carnival customs and traditions

During the carnival, processions and festivities take place in different cities of Germany, which stretch for many kilometres throughout the city. People dress up as princesses and knights, wizards and fairies, jesters and clowns. The carnival period and especially the carnival week embrace a lot of different customs and traditions, rules and procedures. People drink a lot of alcohol, especially beer, kiss everyone indiscriminately (Bützcher), dance and have fun as best they can. People participating in carnival performances and processions are called with a special term "Jecken" - jesters, madcaps. Favourite dishes for the carnival week: buns with cheese, pork knuckles, pancakes and meatballs; fatty baked foods.

Capturing the town hall, cutting ties

At the beginning of the carnival week, women storm the town hall, "seize" power, cut men's ties, kiss and shout "Bützchen".

Satire, humour and presidents

Carnival processions contain wagons with satirical scenes featuring papier-mâché puppets representing presidents and other dignitaries from around the world. These compositions poke fun at unfortunate, embarrassing, or comical decisions by heads of state.

School groups procession

Dozens of school groups stage a carnival procession dressing up in costumes, which procession is judged by a special commission for the best groups as to their costumes, setting, décor and design to be chosen.

Sweets and flowers

The carnival procession participants literally bombard the audience with sweets, chocolate bars and bouquets of flowers. In order for the participants to do this more intensely, the audience stimulates them by shouting "Kamelle".

Final customs of the carnival season

At the carnivals conclusion on Carnival Tuesday, it is customary to burn a straw doll called Nubbel (in German: Nubbel)or throw it into the water. This doll is a kind of scapegoat; it is punished for all the vices that have come around during the carnival period; a similar tradition: the jester Hoppeditz (in German: Hoppeditz) funeral.

  The origin of the Carnival holiday

Even before the 13th century, there was a holiday held with great noise and shouts, masks and masquerade, with the help of which people tried to ward off winter, cold, storms and fogs. Only the custom of dressing up as different characters and making a lot of noise has come down to our time.

Previously the carnival used to be held on the eve of the Lent, when believers could eat without the restrictions imposed during the Lent; however, later this day began to be called carnival and was celebrated for a whole week prior to fasting.

Since the 19th century, the carnival period beginning has been the date of November 11 at 11 hours 11 minutes.

  Photos, pictures for the holiday

To enlarge and view the picture, click on it with the mouse button.


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