What’s it like to attend a German carnival parade?
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On February 10th, 2024, Lyons Cub and Lyoness went to the Langenfeld carnival procession with friends and family. We had had several days of rain, but this seemed to be the only sunny day of the week, yay! It was great to wear costumes without covering them up with jackets, and it was also nice not to pick up candy out of muddy puddles — because the “Jecken” (disguised people celebrating carnival) are throwing sweets down from their floats, for the masses to gather. Here in the Rhineland, “Karneval” is being celebrated widely, starting with “Weiberfastnacht” on Thursday (Fat Thursday), then disguising on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with programs all over the towns, and a great Rosenmontagszug (Rose Monday parade). The stronghold of carnival is Cologne, where the famous Gothic cathedral is located.
But even here in Langenfeld, there was quite a bit going on. Lyons Cub chose between his Rainbow Friends Blue and his Rainbow Friends Green costumes. Mommy was a matching green witch. Our friend’s children went as two Pikachus and a panda bear.
Some groups wore strange, custom-made costumes like those truck wheels with cartons on top:
Lyons Cub’s cousin was on one of the floats. They were numbered; she was on one of the floats in the 50s, so it took a long time until we saw her. In the meantime, we shouted “Helau!!!” like the others and stretched our hands into the sky to get hold of the candy and other small advertising gifts they were throwing. They also handed out roses and tulips. Tractors with huge wheels rolled by slowly, a guard posed next to each wheel so nobody could get hurt. They screamed through megaphones and shot with confetti canons. It was very loud, crazy, and fun. We saw amazing costumes like kings, princesses, devils, witches, firemen, dinos, dancers, monsters, superheroes, Mario Bros. — but no other Green from Rainbow Friends!!
One of the Pikachus caught a yellow ball thrown by a dragon from a political satire float:
There were trumpet players and drummers, and when you stood right in the front lines, it was almost deafening. All kids (and adults, too) held big shopping bags to fill with sweets. Look at this cute band disguised in colorful, furry bear costumes:
Different sports clubs and shooting clubs, like the Langenfeld Longhorns (American football club) with their flags marched by in colorful uniforms, their cheerleaders performing. The girls lifted one of them up and she did the splits. It was almost like in the United States 😉
Compared with the Langenfeld carnival parade of 2023, this one was much drier. We also collected much more candy. Last year, Lyons Cub went disguised as Bowser from Mario Bros. Well, you have to like noise and submerging in the masses in order to enjoy a German carnival parade. Grandma didn’t come with us because she especially dislikes all that. But as long as the police keeps order and people don’t drink too much or behave rowdily, everything usually goes well. And of course, you need to have a sweet tooth 🙂