Carnival Saturday 2021: The lockdown has frozen the city, life seems to stand still, and so do thoughts. Weiberfastnacht is cancelled, no meetings, no parties, all pubs closed. The incidence is 91.3, but hardly anyone has been vaccinated. There is a ban on alcohol in public spaces, a ban on contact of more than five people. And all the time I have this song in my ear: "Suht et och su us, als jing de Welt huck unger/ Maach e Leech aan", sings Peter Brings and slowly thaws out my brain. "E Leech for die Stadt/ Un e Leech fur die Luck/ Denn mir glove do dran/ Et Levve kutt zorock."
Right he is. I put on makeup and a costume. Feels good, even if the infection control mask smudges the paint. A couple of beers in the cart. And two handfuls of Kamelle I also found. Let’s go.
I’ll take the route that our Veedelszoch would normally take now. Only briefly does the fear of a police patrol cloud the feeling of having to do something funny. I meet people on the street, strangers as well as acquaintances, ring friends’ bells, give away Kamelle, always at a distance and outside. "Och, but that’s nice", people say and are happy about the surprise.
I’m with you on everything that’s allowed
"Are you going again this year?" I was recently asked more often. Yes, I will come up with something. I’m at everything that is allowed: concert, men’s breakfast, session unplugged, the name does not matter. Carnival can not be cancelled in this city, just as little as Christmas.
When my son was still in kindergarten, it went to St. Martin to the deacon’s house to sing. Because that on 11.11. is and dad went to the carnival in the morning, the little one wanted to take his tin drum with him. The deacon saw it, fetched the fat Trumm from the cellar and instead of the "hillije Zinter Mates" they sang "Et Trommelche". Who grows up in such a way, the Bazillus never again gets rid of.
The pandemic also shows the great strength of carnival
The pandemic hurts the carnival. Club life lies fallow in many places, resulting in social isolation. But it also shows his great strength. Because it’s so much more than uninhibited drinking until you drop, more than what Cologne and its people were unjustly condemned for nationwide on 11.11. last year were unjustly put down nationwide. A facet of carnival that is not always nice, but is part of it.
Whether you like it or not, there were partying kids on Zulpicher Strabe who did nothing that wasn’t allowed. Young people partying in areas cordoned off according to 2G rules. As was to be expected. So why all the fuss? "We don’t want to see pictures like the ones from Cologne," said arrogant politicians in a TV-appropriate way.
Commentary on the Cologne Carnival Politics ducks away – the Jecken celebrate nevertheless
Deiters, companies : With these events Cologne tests the carnival return
And now run with eyes wide open into a street carnival that has no limits. People will want to go out and party. Even without trains. For many, carnival becomes an outlet for pandemic frustration. But as things stand, there will be no control zones, no bans on gathering or alcohol, no rules. Because politics dithers. Of course, everyone is responsible for how and where he celebrates. There’s no celebrating at any price either. But why not do what’s allowed. I am there in any case. To say it with Brings: "Come, mer singe Alaaf, because sons sin mir verlore/ Un mir singe janz hoosch fur e besser Morjen."
Stefan Worring, 63, chief reporter for local affairs, has lived in Cologne for more than 40 years as an Imi from Baden. Is fascinated by carnival in its breadth and has made a coffee-table book about it. Celebrate with pleasure, but on Ash Wednesday it’s all over.
It’s carnival time again in Cologne: like at the Humba Tatara party from Deiters.
Contra: No one has ever celebrated carnival and kept a tapir’s length distance from it
Have you ever thought about taking part in a mud race in a white suit and a wavy blow-dried hairdo?? Did you set out full of confidence with the assumption: "Oh, it won’t be that dirty?"If so: How dirty was your suit afterwards?? How well did the hairstyle fit?
Well? Eben. I know, some things you try again and again. One becomes and becomes not wiser. For example, due to the pandemic, I always start my home office day with a smile, my laptop and a snorting four-year-old, thinking: Oh, he’s probably playing nicely with his dinosaurs, and between two meetings I’ll puree us a delicious carrot soup. At the end of the day, I got so little done that I have to take a night shift, the living room looks like a meteorite hit the dinosaurs and the young man ate nothing but rice cakes and cookies.
Claudia Lehnen is head of department NRW/Story.
At carnival, however, I really try to finally face reality. And that means: Cologne carnival celebrations with rules? Don’t even need to try it out. It will not work. Because: Those who indulge in the merriment in this city during the hinge days between winter and spring do so out of a single need: to be able to throw all the rules overboard for once.
No one has ever kept a tapir’s length distance at carnival
I claim that no one has ever celebrated Cologne Carnival while keeping a tapir’s length distance from others. Although, for hygienic and moral reasons, this would have been advisable at any time, even in pre-pandemic situations. No one has ever gone to bed alone after a Kolsch beer on Carnival night with the chaste thought: "Today is a good day to be sensible for a change."
Carnival means loss of control, means unreasonableness, means dissolution of boundaries, means delusion. It does not go without intoxication, hyperbole, bodily fluids. Everything about this time is the opposite of pandemic measures. Any resolution, however good, can only emerge from this arena of madness badly battered and as a loser. Those who really celebrate carnival often don’t even know at the end of the day which marital status they once left with. How can you seriously ask someone about his vaccination status??
Should Wonderwoman disinfect herself all the time?
How can you believe the hard-working neighbor’s mother, who once a year dares to walk down the street in a Wonder Woman costume, disinfects her face and hands after every beating?? And who can want that all the bunnies and lords of the seven seas, smiling demurely and humming in their measured places in halls instead of dancing and roaring knotted together to pay homage to the customs??
I know, it’s hard. But better make up the whole thing right away. Those who love carnival celebrate it anarchically and wildly. And has to wait until the pandemic is over. Stay appropriately cheerful, but don’t degenerate. And keep up this unspectacular resting pulse until we have also forced the omicron wall into a horizontal position. And then Wonderwoman comes. But hello.
Claudia Lehnen, 43, head of department NRW/Story, has celebrated carnival for half of her life and is therefore only taken seriously to a limited extent in Cologne when it comes to questions of customs. In her honor: Her grandfather was from Cologne and completely jeck.