Misty day, Frankfurt am Main

Yes, it’s still winter, but the days are already starting to draw out just a little.  You probably need a clear sky to appreciate it (or even notice it), though. Despite the season, there are a couple of notable events that occur in February.

February brings a very special time of year.  In roughly the second week of the month, the ice cream shops open for business again after their winter break.  It’s the first sign that spring is around the corner.  You can easily tell when it happens because of the long queues that even stretch outside onto the footpaths, especially if there is a bit of sunshine.  I find it surprising, given the weather, but Germans love their ice cream! 

Frankfurt Carnival Parade, 23 February

The other important thing in February is Carnival.  This is the crazy period of revelry before the solemness of Lent.  It is celebrated mainly in the western areas of Germany, particularly along the Rhine River.  The festivities have various origins but especially along the Rhine, there was an element of satire, poking fun at the former ruling powers namely the French and Prussians.  This carries through into present day carnival activities.    

In Frankfurt, the Carnival Parade takes place on Sunday 23rd February.  The decorated floats, marching bands and other groups wind their way along a 1.7 km trail through the central city. They start at 12:21 p.m. and the parade lasts about four hours. 

Oh, and be aware – it’s not only the people in the parade that dress up.  Numerous onlookers come along as all sorts of interesting characters.  If you want to visit carnival parades in cities such as Mainz and Cologne, be aware that wearing a costume is all but mandatory!   

If you want further Carnival experiences, you should visit cities such as Mainz, Cologne and Düsseldorf.

The Carnival Parade in Mainz is on 24th February and starts at 11:11 a.m.  This parade is known for its Schwellköppen –  giant satirical papier-mâché heads which dedicated locals wear for the entire parade.  For further details, take a look here.

Cologne has a week of Carnival festivities, with the highlight being the Parade on 24th February, starting at 10:30 a.m.  Click here if you would like more details.

In Düsseldorf, the Carnival Parade is on 24th February, starting at 12:00 noon.  Look out for the famous politically-themed satirical floats.  For more information, click here.

If you want to know what else is happening in Frankfurt in 2020, click here.