German Culture & Traditions: Carnival in Germany

Carneval in Germany, Carneval in Cologne - Foto: KoelnTourismus / Inge Decker Foto: KölnTourismus Office, Inge Decker

In Germany, Mardi Gras ('Fasching', 'Karneval') is also known as the fifth and foolish season ('die närrische Zeit'). It is a time of elaborate parades, masks, balls and the election of the Carnival king and queen and officially sanctioned madness.

The exact time of the celebrations and the traditions vary from county to county, but it generally takes place in early spring. Munich, Cologne and Mainz are centrepieces of the Mardi Gras celebrations.

Switzerland and Austria, also join in the party with enthusiasm whilst following their own traditions.