November 11 in the Rhine Valley — Yet Another Sort of Holiday … and Party! (Also: Task for Square 11 of the “16 Festive Tasks”: Soyal)

In the Rhine Valley, where I live, November 11 has yet another meaning, in addition to (and even more so than) the two holidays we included in the “16 Festive Tasks”:

11/11, 11:11 AM marks the opening of the carnival season, which ends roughly three months later on Ash Wednesday (this season: Feb. 14, 2018), which in turn marks the beginning of the six-week lent period leading up to Easter.  While the Thursday and the weekend immediately preceding Ash Wednesday are the high points of the Rhineland carnival celebrations, the opening of what is known hereabouts as “the fifth season” on 11/11 at 11:11 AM is a major first highlight which essentially turns the complete centres of the area’s cities — and none more so than Cologne, the Rhine Valley’s “carnival capital” — into one big party zone, complete with people dressing up, the popular carnival music bands’ first big stage appearances of the season, the first appearances of the “carnival princes” (three representatives of the major carnival clubs that preside over the whole season’s events), and their honor guards (the members of the carnival clubs, dressed up in uniforms initially created to mock those of the Prussian militia — e.g., see bottom row of photos from Bonn), etc.  To wit (all pictures of today, chiefly taken from the website of our local TV station, WDR):

 

Cologne






More Cologne photos here — as well as a short video, courtesy of a Cologne newspaper:

 

 


Bonn





Bottom row: representatives of the “Bonn City Soldiers”

More Bonn photos here.

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Addendum: It just occurs to me that this matches the requirements of the Tasks for Soyal: Like many Native American festivities, Soyal involves rituals such as dances. What local / religious / folk traditions or customs exist where you live? Tell us about one of them. (If you can, post pictures for illustration.)

(Hah.  Talk about game hosts not knowing their own games …)

 

 

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