German revellers celebrate carnival in the snow

27th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

27 February 2006, COLOGNE - Revellers in Germany ignored flurries of snow as annual carnival celebrations went into top gear Monday with vast parades of floats and scrambles for sweets in western cities.

27 February 2006

COLOGNE - Revellers in Germany ignored flurries of snow as annual carnival celebrations went into top gear Monday with vast parades of floats and scrambles for sweets in western cities.

Amidst a din of amplified music and cheering that made conversation impossible, the biggest procession, about 7 kilometres long, wound its way through Cologne, with similar parades taking place in the cities of Mainz and Dusseldorf.

Normally serious German men dressed up in 18th century military uniforms and called themselves colonel, general or higher as they marched or drove through the streets in a day of parody.

Papier-mache floats, built by volunteers from competing carnival societies, were mainly designed to draw a chuckle, with references to bird flu, Chancellor Angela Merkel or the World Cup football tournament that dominates most Germans' calendars for June and July.

The processions were telecast live to the north and east of Germany, where carnival is only sparsely celebrated.

Factories, shops and offices in the carnival region were closed, as millions of people lined the sidewalks to cheer and catch free chocolates and wrapped sweets thrown from the procession.

Medical crews stood by to help the people who were trampled or hit too energetically by the hurled gifts.

The morning falls of snow made little difference to an occasion that livens up the German winter and precedes the Catholic fasting season of Lent, which officially begins this Wednesday.

Parades had been held Saturday and Sunday in smaller towns. Near the Bavarian town of Dachau, 10 passengers were injured Sunday when a double-decker carnival float jack-knifed on an icy road and overturned as it was departing at the end of a procession.

DPA

Subject: German news

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