“Koelle Alaaf” Three Cheers For Cologne Carnival

photo of Cologne CathedralWe’re back home from our whirlwind trip to Cologne and its magnificent cathedral (see photo on left). Carnival was as good if not better than I remembered from 10 years ago. Wander along any street at any time of day or night and you come upon a bar where carnival songs are playing and people in fancy dress are singing, dancing, jumping up and down and generally having a good time.

Cologne Carnival is an explosion of colour, music, feasting, drinking and general merry-making and, if there’s any town in Europe that should be designated official party town, it’s Cologne.

This time around we had a specific mission, to watch the parades and collect as many sweets, chocolates, gifts and flowers as possible. We had plenty of opportunity as there are two huge processions in Cologne. On Sunday, there’s the School and Youth Club Carnival and on Monday, the official Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) Carnival. Both parades took about 5-6 hours to pass by where we were standing so it’s an all-day experience for participants and spectators.

We made new friends, met up with old friends, joined in Carnival songs and caught bagfuls of sweets, chocolates and gifts that are thrown from the floats or given out for free. The many Carnival Clubs in Cologne and from the surrounding villages work hard all year to ensure that the bounty is plentiful. My daughter learnt how to shout “karamellen” (sweets), to sing along to “Koelle Alaaf” (3 Cheers to Cologne) and that a kiss was required if you wanted to receive one of the many thousands of flowers.

Tired but happy, we flew home on Monday night. One small girl collected 3 carrier bags full of sweets, chocolates and toys that were somehow squeezed in to our hand luggage and asked, “Can we come again next year?”


[photo of Cologne Cathedral by flickr.com/photos/andreasheyden]


11 thoughts on ““Koelle Alaaf” Three Cheers For Cologne Carnival”

  1. Three Cheers for you, Sally! How did you manage to post those pictures like that, brilliant, do share. Also, what’s the connection between you and Cologne? Have you lived there previously, or what? Forgive me if you’ve already said, as you know, you and I have had to do a lot of reading (and writing) in February!. J

  2. Wow, Judith, you’re fast! Yes, I’m very impressed with my ability to insert a gallery on WordPress. See what this Better Blogging group does for me? – I’m a techno whizz and an expert blogger! Re. the Cologne connection, I studied German at uni and lived in Bavaria for 18 months back in the 80’s but it’s a very good German friend of mine, Georg, who’s my Cologne connection. I’ve visited him numerous times for New Year, Carnival and other parties. Sally

  3. I have been to Cologne quite a few times Sally but I have never been to the Carnival. I shall have to put that on my list of To Do’s for the future.
    Lovely photos and I my mouth is watering at the thought of all those sweets. What fun!

    1. Hi Bianca, I’m told by my German friends that Women’s Day, the Thursday that starts the Cologne Carnival w/e is the best day to be there. That’s when everyone stops working and starts partying. That’s definitely on my list of things “to do” next… best, Sally

  4. Love the gallery please share how you did this. Cologne looks amazing, I do hope your daughter is sharing her 3 carrier bags full of sweets with you.

    1. hi Liz, no worries on the sweet sharing front. My daughter’s very generous.

      Re. gallery. On WordPress, you upload photos as normal and then click on the Gallery folder in the same section. All photos you upload on a specific post are in there. You save the gallery and the gallery settings and, hey presto, it appears on your blog; nb. the photos only show when you preview the post. I had a problem with the photo of Cologne Cathedral which wanted to be included in the gallery, so I made room for it. Hope that helps, Sally

  5. What a fantastic weekend was had by all and congratulations on posting those photos so professionally. As a child, we lived near Cologne and visited the cathedral many times but we never went to the Carnival, which is such a shame having seen what fun everyone was having – now definitely on my ‘Must Do’ list. Thanks for sharing and hope a certain young lady’s sharing all those goodies! Janet

    1. My daughter is a typical Libran in that she loves giving. She has not only shared her sweets with me & her father but also her cousins, her friends and her classmates. She’s a very popular girl! best, Sally

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