The history of some holidays that are celebrated in Cologne is rooted in local traditions, others have appeared recently, but each is a great reason to relax and have fun.
At the Cologne Carnival
Cologne is a city of holidays and festivals. Millions of people from all over the world gather at local festivals. During festivals, the city becomes incredibly colorful, but do not forget that on such days hotel rooms should be booked in advance.
The Carnival (Kölner Karneval - „fünfte Jahreszeit“) called "The Fifth Time of the Year" lasts for three whole months. The celebration begins on November 11 at exactly 11 hours 11 minutes. All dress up in carnival costumes and go to have fun in the Old Town. The holiday lasts five days, then gives way to a series of Christmas and New Year events. In February, the second carnival begins, which marks the end of the fun and the beginning of Lent. Thursday in the week before Lent is called "Indian Thursday" and is celebrated by lush carnival processions. The fun culminates in Rosenmontagszug, Pink Monday, when colorful processions take place around the city, attracting more than a million spectators. It seems that these days the whole city is going crazy. In the bars until the morning, it is full of people and it is difficult to find a free place. Mid February. The tour desk offers a map of carnival routes.
Christopher Street Day (Christopher Street).
GameParade, photo by Matthias Ebert
This is not just a day - it is the Pride of sexual minorities. It is usually celebrated on the first weekend of July. In the Old Town, open stages are organized for concerts. The festival is attended by more than 35 thousand gays and lesbians. The fun lasts until the morning. (www.csd-cologne.de)
Cologne Fireworks Festival, photo by Marcus Antonius Braun
"Cologne Lights" (Kölner Lichter) is a magnificent festival of fireworks on the Rhine. Hundreds of thousands of spectators gather at it, who from the banks of the river and bridges observe an unusually beautiful spectacle. Come early to take a comfortable seat. It takes place in mid-July. (www.koelner-lichter.de)
Pop Festival and Ringfest
At the Cologne Pop Festival
Stars of electronic pop music from around the world gather at the pop festival. For a week in Cologne, music thunders everywhere.
The culmination of the holiday is the Ringfest (Musicfest am Ring), one of the largest events in the musical life of Europe. Open scenes line the city ring road. Fans gather at the concerts of the most famous performers in the world of rock and pop music and have fun from the heart. It takes place in mid-August. (www.c-o-pop.de)
Cologne Christmas Markets, photo by Nikolaus von Myra
On Christmas Eve, six specialized markets begin to operate in Cologne, and the atmosphere of celebration is immediately felt in the city. Here you can buy traditional German Christmas decorations - toys, nutcrackers, garlands and balls. Walking in such a market is an excellent remedy for the stresses of modern life. In the huge market on Roncallip-Lutz, a giant Christmas tree is being set up, which looks especially beautiful against the backdrop of the majestic cathedral. Other markets operate on the Altermarkt, Neumarkt and Rudolfplatz. You can visit them for free. But for visiting the floating market near the Rheinprominade and the Medieval Market, which operates near the Chocolate Museum, you will have to pay. Opening hours of fairs: end of November - December 23.