For the first time in three years, a street carnival without corona restrictions begins this Thursday with Weiberfastnacht.
In 2020, the carnival took place just before the first far-reaching lockdown measures were taken, but in some cases it had already contributed to the spread of the virus. In the following year 2021, “the fifth season” was completely canceled. In 2022, Weiberfastnacht took place under 2G-plus conditions. These restrictions are now gone.
Many tens of thousands of revelers from abroad are expected, especially in Cologne. The police are there with 2000 officers on duty. Already at the beginning of the carnival season on 11.11. there was a mass rush in Cologne. The student quarter around Zülpicher Straße in particular, with its many bars and pubs, is a mega hotspot for young people.
Among other things, the city of Cologne has installed 550 mobile toilets, 140 urinals, 20 urinal channels and eleven toilet vans. Head of the public order office Athene Hammerich threatened: "The security service will consistently punish wild urination." The warning money is up to 200 euros. The rush could possibly be slowed down a little by the fact that the weather is not supposed to be good.
Last year, Women's Carnival fell on the day of the Russian attack on Ukraine. It was February 24th. At the time, Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker (independent) stated that she did not feel like celebrating, but neither she nor the clubs could and wanted to cancel the carnival.
NRW Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) said: "War and carnival in Europe don't go together." Instead of the Cologne Rose Monday procession, there was a peace demo with a quarter of a million participants.
With a view to this year, Cologne Carnival President Christoph Kuckelkorn told the German Press Agency: “The Corona period in particular has shown us all how important it is to experience personal closeness and community with other people. The Cologne revelers don't just sway past the world's problems, they know very well how close joy and sorrow are to each other."
Irrespective of this, those who refuse to attend carnival can refer to Heinrich Böll (1917-1985), winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and a native of Cologne. He said: "I can think of no duty more terrible than the duty of humor."