The ashes

Ash Wednesday (in German Aschermittwoch) is the day that marks the beginning of Lent in the Christian calendar. In Cologne – and also other regions in the world that celebrate carnival – it is also the end of the carnival season. But what does this day have to do with ashes? Where does the name come from and what are customary traditions to observe this day around the world?


The Meadow

It’s the world’s most famous beerfest. And it used to be strictly Munich. In recent years, though, in the first weeks of autumn, shop windows all over Germany have been displaying an increasingly higher number of traditional Bavarian costumes. What is this Oktoberfestisation? Weiterlesen

Out of humour

As the end of the carnival season is drawing near, Cologne is preparing for six days of celebration. Visitors from all over the world will flock in and be merry. Many foreigners think that Germans love carnival for the sole reason that it gives them permission to shed their otherwise serious face and let their hair down just for a few days a year. But is that really so? Weiterlesen