Carnival in Germany is not just a celebration. In fact, it is such a humongous affair that it is referred to as the Fifth Season. Carnival season in Germany kickstarts on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year (November 11) at exactly 11.11am, making way for grand celebrations over several days in the following February. The Carnival is called by different names across regions, and each part of the country adds its own special rituals and quirks to the celebrations. But in general, Carnival means crazy costumes, war cries, long parades and artistic (often satirical) floats.
Berlin is a melting pot of cultures and this diversity is celebrated every June at the four-day long Carnival of Cultures (Karneval der Kulturen). This street festival brings together the very best in dance, music, handicrafts, art and cuisine of various nationalities and cultures. Thousands of people attend the parades and concerts during this festival. The main parade starts from Hermannplatz Square at noon.
Düsseldorf hosts the Biggest Fun Fair on the Rhine every summer. People from all over Europe arrive in town to take part in this 700-year-old, 10-day extravaganza. The highlight of the fair is the Historic Procession, consisting of thousands of people in costumes marching down the streets with the accompaniment of music. The Fun Fair promises lots of rides, great food and games.
Kiel Week (Kieler Woche) is the most popular sailing event in the world and a superb summer festival attended by millions of spectators from all over the world. Over nine days every June, over 2000 events are held. This includes a parade of thousands of ships, yachts, boats and other flotation devices down the Kiel Fjord. This spectacle can be best witnessed from the watersides, the beaches (Heikendorf and Kitzeberg) and the Holtenau Lighthouse. Alongside, a parade of vintage automobiles and music concerts are also held.
The glitzy and glamorous Berlin Fashion Week brings together fashion experts, media professionals, stylists, designers, models and spectators from all over Europe twice a year (July and January). During the Fashion Week, several events are held across Germany’s capital city, including at STATION Berlin (Luckenwalder Str 4-6), Berlin ExpoCenter (ExpoCenter City, Jafféstraße) and the Brandenburg Gate.
Oktoberfest, the biggest, baddest and craziest beer festival in the world, is held in Munich every September-October. The festival kicks off with a massive parade in which over 10,000 people in traditional costumes take part. Over 6 million people from all over the world get together to chug millions of gallons of beer, indulge in delicious food, sway to Bavarian folk music and scream aboard fun rides.
Berlin Light Festival sees the famous monuments of the city – like Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Cathedral, TV Tower and many more – bathed in jaw-dropping illumination, designed by famous light experts from all over the globe. This festival rolls for 10 days every October, from 7 pm till midnight, and is attended by millions of spectators.
Hamburg teaches the rest of the country how to have endless fun. The city boasts four huge fun fairs – Hamburger Dom – every year (spring, summer, autumn, winter), each of which is held over one full month. This festival is a riot of lights and music, rides, food, drinks and spectacular fireworks.
Though many scintillating new year celebrations are held across the country, nobody does it like Berlin. The most bombastic street party in Europe is triggered off on the evening of December 30 and keeps getting bigger and crazier, culminating only in the wee hours of 1st January. Over a million people gather at the Brandenburg Gate to enjoy live music, laser shows and spectacular fireworks.