Düsseldorf Carnival Countdown: February 20 Brings “Rose Monday”: Miles-Long Parade and a Million Revelers Taking Over the City

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Carnival is the wild side of Düsseldorf, a city that is No. 5 on a list of global cities in quality of life. More than 300 carnival sessions and events lead up to the season’s highlight, Rose Monday, when the city becomes one of the world’s biggest outdoor party places.

Rose Monday Parade in Düsseldorf's Old Town

A city known for its cosmopolitan character and sophisticated living lets its hair down, unleashes its wild side, and transforms into a place where rip-roaring behavior is suddenly acceptable.

The city’s once-yearly, one-day climax of carnival season falls on Monday, February 20, (called “Rose Monday”) this year: A city known for its cosmopolitan character and sophisticated living (Düsseldorf ranks No. 5 on a list of global cities in quality of life – Source: Mercer Quality of Living Survey) lets its hair down, unleashes its wild side, and transforms into a place where rip-roaring behavior is suddenly acceptable.

The Rhine region is known as Germany’s center of carnival festivities, or Rhenish Carnival, and Carnival in Düsseldorf is one of the strongholds. More than 300 carnival sessions and costume balls take place during Carnival season, also called Fools’ season, which kicks off on November 11 and ends on Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent: February 22, 2012). The season culminates in Rose Monday, its highlight. The city has no fewer than 60 carnival clubs, and their members are among the 5,500 parade participants who also make up the 45 bands and 70 floats. One million people, many dressed up in costumes and called fools, line up to watch the Rose Monday parade, shout “Helau” (the local carnival greeting), and catch the candy (called “Kamelle”) that is thrown into the crowds from the floats. The parade is more than a mile and a half long.

Because of Düsseldorf’s 260 bars, pubs, and restaurants in the city’s historic Old Town, the city is also known as “the longest bar in the world.” And these venues become the backdrop for the extended festivities as the parade spills into the entire city and the revelers take over.

In addition to the parade there is “Altweiberfastnacht” on the Thursday before Rose Monday (February 16, 2012). Extremely popular with Düsseldorf’s women, it’s a time for them to storm the town hall, a custom developed in previous ages to show the town fathers who’s boss. Revelers cut men’s ties off – not just in the town hall, but also from any man on the street. In anticipation of the big parade, Sunday, the day before, has an almost Venetian atmosphere. On Düsseldorf’s famous shopping boulevard Königsallee, partiers in costume meet to dance, sing, or simply have fun.

Miraculously, the city is back to its civilized self two days later, on Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins, and with it the long wait until the Carnival season kicks off again the next November.

For more information about Carnival in Düsseldorf, please visit http://www.comitee-duesseldorfer-carneval.de.

Düsseldorf International Airport, Germany’s third largest, offers several non-stop flights from US & Canadian cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Ft. Myers, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark, Toronto, San Francisco, Vancouver), as well as convenient connections to many European cities and beyond. Find fair week specials for hotels and air fares at http://www.visitduesseldorf.de and http://www.fly2dus.com

Düsseldorf Tourism & Marketing GmbH is the visitors and convention bureau of the city of Düsseldorf. Its responsibilities include tourism and city marketing, as well as conference and meeting marketing, hotel reservation services, fairs and convention services, city event ticket sales and advance ticket reservations. For more information visit http://www.visitduesseldorf.de.

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