The crazy days have started again in Germany: Carnival is being celebrated with lots of parties and massive street parades.
Originally, Carnival was a tradition to fend off winter spirits. In some German regions people still wear scary masks and dress up as witches.
|Witches scaring off the winter spirits.|
The week before, on Thursday, 16 February, is ladies' day, or Weiberfastnacht: women cut off the men's ties.
|Women cut off men's ties!|
On the Monday, hour-long parades with marching bands, drummers, dancers and huge floats take place on the streets of many German towns and cities. The biggest and most famous Karnevalsumzug happens in Cologne. Ten thousand people take part in the parade, and up to a million line the streets, most of them dressed up in funny costumes, dancing and singing along to the various silly carnival songs.
The party goes on until Tuesday night, but "am Aschermittwoch ist alles vorbei". On Ash Wednesday it's all over.
Have a look at the a video of last year's parade in Cologne:
here are some links for more info and a quiz:
some more info for younger kids with some vocab and a game
here is some info in English about the Carnival in Cologne: