How to pass on local traditions to young people living in a Europe of cultures

The Cologne Carnival is almost as old as the city itself and has, over the time, evolved into one of the largest street festivals in Europe with more than one million visitors each year. The first written record of this event dates back to the year 1341, although some scholars trace its origins to the Roman saturnalia and the spring festivals of the Germanic peoples celebrating the expulsion of winter. When the regions along the Rhine where christianized, the pagan festival became part of the official calendar of the Catholic Church and developed into Carnival. Given its Christian roots, the actual celebration of Carnival takes place six weeks before Easter and ends with Ash Wednesday, which in turn marks the beginning of Lent. During these days, people would go out masqueraded and dressed in costumes to celebrate on the streets, on public squares or in pubs. 

The topic was chosen because an increasing number of young people leave the home towns and regions to study/live and work far from where they were born.



ITALIAN RECREATION of this German important event 

Article made by Italian Participants

After reading information on the Cologne Carnival, we were divided into groups and researched Carnival in Italy: both historical and present day.One group handled the research into the historic Carnival masks in Italy and displayed them on a map of Italy, divided into their respective origins. We found world-famous historical masks, such as Punchinello, Columbina, the Doctor and Harlequin. Another group researched typical Italian Carnivals and found out that Carnival is celebrated in the whole country, although in a less heart-felt way than in the past. The third group researched the images concerning Carnival’s make-up and reproduced this on some classmates in the make-up workshop of our school. The fourth group researched the celebration of another feast: Halloween. Although it is not a typical Italian celebration, the traditions of disguise, make up and attending theme parties is now making its way to Italy. Among young people it is perhaps more celebrated than Carnival. 

Nice experience. I have decided I will visit the Cologne Carnival in the future.

Participants’ opinion 

"Nice experience. I have decided I will visit the Cologne Carnival in the future.” Anonymous 

it’s nice to discover that the traditions of each people sometimes are very similar.” Anonymous 


GERMAN RECREATION of this German important event

Article made by German Participants

Since we all come from the Rhineland area, we were already acquainted with lots of the Carnival related traditions and customs. During the course, we also had the opportunity to speak with some presidents of the Frechen Carnival societies about Carnival and its traditions a were invited to one society’s, the Kajuja Frechen’s, both the Sunday morning get-together for a drink, and the Carnival session staged in the city of Frechen’ event hall. During the Carnival session we had the opportunity to talk to member the Kajuja society as well as to other visitors and to ask them what makes them that enthusiastic about Carnival, when they joined the society, what a carnival year looks like and about the way Easter Sunday has an effect on Carnival. 

After the sessions we collected the pictures taken and used them to create a collage.

Participants’ opinion

Apart from street Carnival, now I know what Carnival sessions, the so-called ‘Sitzungen’ are likely”- Anonymous

What I liked the most was the fact that I had the opportunity to sit up there on stage, in the so-called ‘Elferrat’. – Agostin. 


Visual Results





To be added soon.

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