The Cologne Festival is definitely worth adding to your bucket list. 1.5 Million other people who are set to attend, agree! Also known as the fifth-season, this world-famous festival is sure to be an experience of a lifetime. The Cologne carnival is not only fun but also super easy to get to by train, with the help of SaveATrain. Here are our tips for The Cologne Festival 2019 and how to get there by train.

 

Cologne Festival Costumes

What To Pack for Cologne Festival:

It’s time to go costume shopping. Who doesn’t love a dress up? The style is rather different from Brazilian carnivals. Think more “Prussian Soldier” with a heavy dose of makeup and sequins!

Cologne Carnival is above all a festival of fancy dress, so use your imagination! The brighter the better.

For balls and other indoor events, thin costumes are recommended. If you really want to experience this festival, then you need to go outside! Just remember to wear something warm underneath!  The real Cologne carnival fan is not put off by the weather! Guests who arrive at the last minute will find masks, costumes, and make-up in many stores in the city center. As a last resort, a simple red paper nose is all you need. Want some dress info, click here.

 

How To Get to Cologne Festival:

You’re going to want to catch a train to Cologne’s main station. This is also one of Europe’s most important railway hubs, so you won’t battle to find a time that suits you with SaveATrain.

You can travel to the Cologne Festival quickly and comfortably from major cities in Germany and other European countries: Every day, more than 1,300 trains run between Cologne and destinations throughout Germany and abroad. Highlights of the service include the international high-speed trains that connect Cologne with London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels. With the high-speed rail service to Frankfurt, the Koln-Deutz railway station — the second terminal for high-speed ICE trains in Cologne — and the Cologne/Bonn Airport station, Cologne has further enhanced its vital role as a central hub for railway transport.

The local public transport service in Cologne and the surrounding region is also excellent, featuring underground, tram, and bus services that will provide you with optimal mobility during your stay in Cologne.

The information provided by the Deutsche Bahn railway company includes not only train schedules, but also connecting tram and bus schedules plus the time needed to reach the nearest stop or station on foot.

 

deutschebahn trains in a train station hbf

 

Kolsch dialect in Cologne Carnival

To understand the “strange” Cologne Carnival culture, you’ll need to learn a few typical expressions from the Kölsch dialect. If they’re new to you, don’t start doubting your German skills – most Germans don’t know them either.

Fastelovend, or: Fasteleer

Carnival, also known as the “Fifth Season,” holds such a special place in the hearts of most Cologne residents that they have many words for it. Although Carnival, or “Fastelovend,” is said to begin on November 11 each year, the really “great days” start with Ladies’ Night, or “Weiberfastnacht” on Thursday before and runs up until the dawn of Ash Wednesday.

 

Kolsch

Kölsch: It’s the only language you can drink. That’s the running gag in Cologne, where the dialect and hometown brew share the same name. Normally served in tall, slender glasses, during Cologne Carnival it’s plastic cups only as no breakable glass is allowed on the street. Should you grab Kolsch at a Brauhaus, though, remember: Bring cash. It’s the only way to buy drink tickets in packed pubs.

Butzcher

A “Butzcher” is a big smooch. During the Cologne Carnival festivities, expect to get kissed (“gebutzt,” or to be correct: “jebutz”) more than usual. Complete strangers distribute harmless pecks on strangers’ cheeks, though some wet Butzcher (in standard Kolsch, “Butz”) may also smudge Carnival makeup all over your face.

Weetschaff

This word refers to pubs, bars or restaurants. Almost all of them take part in celebrating Cologne Carnival. They clear out the furniture to create a large dance floor and decorate everything colorfully for six days of celebration in a row. In many local pubs, only Kölsche music is played (songs in the Kölsch dialect). You will often find up to 300-meter long queues in front of the traditional pubs.

 

What is Weiberfastnacht?

Early in the morning, the streets fill up with Cologne Festival fools in costumes. At exactly 11:11 a.m., the street Carnival is officially opened by the mayor of Cologne and Cologne’s Carnival triumvirate.

Interesting Fact: Weiber (Women)

In 1824 in Beuel, a part of Bonn, a group of washer women formed their own Karneval committee. It seems they were tired of doing laundry while everyone else was celebrating Karneval. They stormed the Town Hall and took over the city government. (Now remember…Karneval is a time when government officials are openly caricatured, and a mock government is elected. Today, this “storming of the Beuel Town Hall” by women is shown live on Television. Girl Power!

 

 

Cologne Carnival Schedule:

  • March 1: Carnival Friday

    • This day is actually a day of rest. But we wouldn’t take this too seriously. Numerous sessions and balls take place in the evening on this day. So if you’re wanting a party, you’ll be sure to find one.
  • March 2: Carnival Saturday

    • After a Carnival brunch with Kölsch beer, there is a performance at the bivouac of the Carnival societies with a military tradition at the Neumarkt. In the evening you can go to the Ghost Parade. 
  • March 3: Carnival Sunday

    • Starting at 11:11 a.m., the school and neighborhood parades march through the city center, featuring costumed school groups and original masquerades staged by neighborhood clubs.
  • March 4: Rose Monday

    • The high point of the session is the big parade on Rose Monday. The floats begin to parade through the city at 10 a.m. Participants blow kisses to the costumed crowds lining the parade route.
  • March 5: Carnival Tuesday

    • At noon there are parades with groups of costumed revelers in the suburbs. After that, the celebrations go on until midnight, when the straw figure called the “Nubbel” is buried or burned.
  • March 6: Ash Wednesday

    • On the morning, Catholics go to church to receive a cross of ashes on their foreheads as a sign of repentance. That evening, the year’s Carnival season is traditionally concluded at a fish dinner.

 

Have we convinced you to attend Cologne Festival 2019, yet? Grab your train tickets from Sava A Train in minutes with no extra, pesky fees! Which means more money for Weetschaff 🍻

 

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