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The lucrative return of carnival

The revelers in Germany have some catching up to do.

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The lucrative return of carnival

The revelers in Germany have some catching up to do. After three years of the Corona compulsory break, carnival celebrations, carnival parades and costume sessions are taking place again across the republic these days.

Millions of carnival enthusiasts have apparently re-equipped themselves for this: the Federal Statistical Office reports a strong jump in the import of carnival and entertainment items, especially from China.

Goods worth almost 115 million euros have been imported for the current 2022/2023 session. That is almost 50 percent more than a year earlier and at least 12.5 percent more than in the pre-Corona year 2019.

A trend continues with the rising numbers. According to official statistics, even before the pandemic, the import and sale of carnival items had been steadily increasing.

However, not only the sellers of costumes, accessories and decoration benefit from the growing interest in the so-called fifth season. The foolish time is also extremely lucrative for gastronomy and the hotel industry, as well as for service providers and the transport industry.

After all, the revelers have to travel to the classic carnival and carnival strongholds, often spend the night there and drive home again. The Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW) estimates the annual loss of sales for the affected sectors during the downtime caused by the pandemic at 1.5 billion euros.

Cologne is the nationwide center of the celebrations. In the cathedral city, where the 200th anniversary of the organized carnival is being celebrated this year, by far the largest and most visited Shrove Monday procession in Germany is moving through the streets.

In the past, up to 1.5 million people lined the mostly eight-kilometer route at the peak of the street carnival. A large crowd is expected again this year.

The approximately 12,000 registered train participants provide the visitors at the roadside with around 700,000 chocolate bars, 220,000 boxes of chocolates, 300,000 Strüßjer - i.e. small bouquets of flowers - and another 300 tons of sweets as well as thousands of rag dolls and gifts, as reported by the Cologne Carnival Festival Committee. The respective throwing material is paid for by the train participants themselves.

But there are also colorful parades elsewhere in the republic, for example in Düsseldorf and Aachen, Mainz, Koblenz, Würzburg, Nuremberg, Braunschweig or in Marne in Schleswig-Holstein. Depending on the region, the foolish hustle and bustle has a different name, such as carnival, carnival and fastnacht through to fasnet and fasteleer.

Even before the parades, which are clearly visible to the general public, the session carnival takes place for many weeks. He lures millions of revelers nationwide to speeches, guard dance and music in the halls.

Despite the enduring popularity of the fifth season in Germany, the Rhenish Carnival Corporations (RKK) worry about the foolish customs. The RKK are a federal carnival association with more than 1,400 affiliated clubs. "Unfortunately, the number of speakers is declining at the carnival," says President Hans Mayer. In many places there is a lack of young people.

In addition, the trend seems to be towards the “party session”, in which music and atmosphere play a more important role. At the street carnival, on the other hand, the association criticizes “increasing bureaucracy”, which has even led to the cancellation of parades.

In particular, the safety requirements are constantly being tightened. "The interest of the population in the carnival is huge, but the activists in the clubs are faced with more and more problems and bureaucratic obstacles."

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