Exactly at 11:11 a.m. on Thursday, the crazy merriment broke out again in the carnival strongholds. The street carnival traditionally began with Weiberfastnacht or Old Women’s Thursday. In many cities, women stormed town halls and symbolically took power. In Düsseldorf, the “Möhnen” captured Mayor Stephan Keller (CDU), who had disguised himself as a car driver.

In Cologne, the triumvirate of prince, farmer and maiden let loose the jokes. The weather was a challenge: In the morning, the carnivalists in Cologne, for example, could only plunge into the fray with an umbrella, full-body costume or a transparent rain cape over their costume. But after that there were also dry phases.

Crowds smaller due to bad weather

Cologne carnival president Christoph Kuckelkorn told the German Press Agency that due to the bad weather, the crowds were smaller this time than usual. “Either people come later or they have decided to celebrate at home, which is a nice concept.” In the “Kwartier Latäng”, the Cologne student district around the party hotspot Zülpicher Straße, there was already a lot of crowds before the official start at 11:11 a.m. This district primarily attracts young revelers.

Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker (independent) told the dpa that the Cologne Carnival is always a celebration of diversity, which is also sung about in numerous songs. “I would hope that this will be lived in this way throughout the year that lies ahead.” Kuckelkorn emphasized: “Cologne is colorful. We have all nationalities, all religious affiliations, orientations here. Cologne is an area of ​​diversity. Any currents that want to limit this in any way have no chance at all, and that’s what we’re fighting for . Carnival always stands firmly on the side of democracy.”

This time it was a very special women’s carnival in Bonn-Beuel, where the 200th anniversary of the so-called washerwomen’s uprising was celebrated. In 1824, the Beuel washerwomen turned against patriarchy and the associated exploitation of women and founded a women’s committee. “The custom of laundresses of discussing their husbands’ gross violations of domestic peace and marital fidelity at coffee klatches according to a set set of rules has survived the different political eras to this day,” said the city of Bonn. Every year since 1958, the women of Beuel have named a representative from their own ranks, the laundry princess.

For the first time street festival on the Cologne Rings

In Cologne, around 1,500 police officers, 200 public order employees and more than 1,000 private security guards were ready to steer the onslaught of party tourists into a relatively regulated channel. For the first time this year there was a street festival on the Cologne Ring to relieve the overcrowded student district around Zülpicher Straße.

A prevention campaign is also running in Cologne this year under the motto “It’s a dress, not a yes!” Video clips draw attention to the fact that certain clothing or exuberant partying should not be misunderstood as an invitation for sexual assault. “Keep your hands to yourself,” warns a dancer from the Rote Funken. The police add: “Föttchesföhlers, i.e. gropers, are not welcome!”

Carnival objectors can cite the Nobel Prize winner for literature and Cologne native Heinrich Böll (1917-1985). He said: “I can’t imagine a more terrible duty than the duty of humor.”