Dress up and party wildly, that’s best done in the fifth season, the foolish season. In some regions one speaks of carnival, in others of carnival. But what exactly is the difference? FOCUS Online shows you where what is being celebrated and why.

For many people, the fifth season is the highlight of the year. Because then exuberant celebrations are at the top of the agenda. What must not be missing are elaborate or funny costumes, with which one can mingle with the partying people – be it for the big parade with magnificent floats and musical accompaniment or for a humorous meeting in large groups.

While some talk about carnival, others go to carnival. So the question arises: Mardi Gras or Mardi Gras?

The carnival is mainly celebrated in the Rhenish area. But Berliners and the inhabitants of the Ruhr area also talk about carnival. Real strongholds of the celebrations are the cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf. Aachen and Bonn are also colorful.

Since the beginning of the 19th century, the revelers have been using the time after 11.11. at 11:11 a.m. for celebrating their homeland and patting those in power on the knuckles with funny comments on the current situation. Why does the number 11 have such a special place in carnival? In the Middle Ages, the number stood for foolishness and jokes – and in Christianity for sin.

The term “Carnival” has been known in Germany since the end of the 17th century. It was first used in the Rhine region in 1728. This designation is most likely due to the Latin expression carne levare. This means something like “take away meat” and is a reference to the Lent that follows the foolish goings-on.

Without a doubt, the Cologne Carnival is one of the largest folk festivals in Germany. Not only do the residents of the Rhenish metropolis celebrate the festival under the cathedral, many tourists are also attracted to the major event. In the Cologne area, in addition to the term carnival, the expression Fastelovend is also common.

After ushering in the carnival season on November 11, February is the peak of carnival revelers. On Weiberfastnacht, the popular carnival Thursday, the revelers are drawn to the city’s pubs and on Saturday the so-called ghost trains take place in the evening. The undisputed highlight of the Cologne Carnival is the magnificent Shrove Monday parade with numerous themed floats. The last time is celebrated on Violet Tuesday, before Ash Wednesday heralds the end of the season.

Each region also has different carnival proclamations. You can find out where what is called here.

In Bavaria, Austria and Saxony, the expression Fasching has established itself. Here, too, the word can be traced back to the beginning of Lent: It is derived from the so-called Fastenschank, the last round of alcoholic drinks before the fasting period.

The largest carnival procession takes place in Würzburg every year and one of the most famous festivals is the Villach carnival in Carinthia, Austria, which was first mentioned in 1867.

At the Villach Carnival, the parade on Carnival Saturday is the highlight of the season. On this day, the Villach fools parade through the city center together with disguised guests from all over Europe, before the Ash Wednesday celebrations end, just like at Carnival.

In addition, carnival is not only celebrated in Germany, for example, the hustle and bustle is also widespread in South America. The carnival in Rio is particularly famous and in the USA Mardi Gras is celebrated primarily in New Orleans. Canadians celebrate the Quebec Carnival.