Thousands of fun-seekers have started celebrating carnival in Germany. By dressing up in costumes and singing in the streets, they are determined to shrug off what is shaping to be the worst recession since the Second World War. “When times are tough we just party even harder,” said Christoph Kuckelkorn, the manager of the Cologne's Rose Monday procession, which attracts 1.5 million and is broadcast nationwide. “It’s our way of life. It’s about letting your hair down once a year, and this year there’s even more reason.”

The predominantly Catholic west and south of Germany comes to a standstill in the six days before Ash Wednesday when this traditionally orderly country descends into chaos. The people of Cologne pride themselves on being Germany’s most fanatical carnival worshippers, yet celebration also occurs in Düsseldorf, Mainz and countless other towns across the west. Locals say it makes the Munich Oktoberfest look like a tea party.

Carnival stems from the Roman tradition of celebrating the onset of spring as well as from ancient Germanic fertility rites. The rituals were adopted by Christians as a way to usher in the fasting period before Easter, and the partying evolved over the centuries.

Carnival in Cologne

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of West Germany

Papier mache figure of Angela Merkel.

Carnival in Dusseldorf

courtesy of the national and etoday

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Tags: Carnival, Cologne, Germany, photography, photos

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Comment by PANDA JU on February 23, 2009 at 11:03pm
Das Krazy!
Comment by FrenchyDave on February 20, 2009 at 3:20pm
Germans have weird tastes anyway !! :) No offense to them !
Comment by FrenchyDave on February 20, 2009 at 3:19pm
I was there once about 10 yrs ago, it was crazy !!! Everybody's drunk in the city ! And it's party for many days !
Comment by Charles on February 20, 2009 at 2:30pm
Am I the only one who thinks these people are weird

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