11.11 – Alaaf! Are you going to the Cologne Carnival in 2021? This is what you need to know


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CORONA RULES FOR CARNIVAL: What do Cologne Carnival revelers have to watch out for this year?

Alaaf! 11.11. The carnival season starts again this year at 11:11 a.m. – not only in Cologne, but especially there. But: There are strict Corona requirements – as previously announced.

▶ In parts of the old town, which are popular with carnival revelerrs and in the so-called “Kwartier Latäng”, you are only allowed if you are vaccinated, recovered or with a PCR or daily quick test (3G +)

▶ Furthermore, carts for alcohol or music are prohibited

▶ And: In front of the stage on the Heumarkt, the 2G rule even applies.

The city has issued a general decree in consultation with the Ministry of Health. It also defines the local limits of the said regulations. Visitors will be controlled when entering the areas. Residents are excluded.

Cologne expects a full Carnival in 2021

Despite the rapidly increasing incidences, the Cologne carnival president Christoph Kuckelkorn expects a largely full carnival season.

▶ ︎ “Even if the incidences should run into the hundreds, that does not necessarily mean that the course of the disease justifies far-reaching restrictions for those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered,” said Kuckelkorn of the German Press Agency.

Of course, compliance with the corona rules must be ensured. The vaccination cards would have to be carefully checked at all events.

The Kwartier Latäng

The Kwartier Latäng is Cologne’s big student mile. During the day there is buffalo at the university, in the evening there is a party in the bars and clubs. City life pulsates on Zülpicher Straße – not only during carnival.

Best clubs:

  • Das Ding – Cologne’s number 1 student club
  • Roonburg – party location with historical flair
  • Cent Club – Unbeatable drink prices of 50 cents and 1 euro
  • Blue Shell – Nice subculture hideaway and concert location
  • MTC – rocky basement club, often with live music
  • Beehive – cocktail bar with a small dance floor
  • Red Cat Lounge – Cozy club with lots of sitting areas and niches
  • Luxor – Alternative parties and intimate concerts

This is what Cologne and Düsseldorf are planning for indoor events:

▶ ︎ The Cologne Carnival Festival Committee, headed by Kuckelkorn, has stipulated the 3Gplus rule for hall events, which means that participants must be vaccinated or have recovered or submit a PCR test. Organizers can always go beyond this and, for example, demand 2G (vaccinated or recovered).

▶ ︎ The Comitee Düsseldorfer Carneval (CC) goes even further and has stipulated 2G for all hall events. 2G also applies to the kick-off event on November 11th

What the Rose Monday procession will look like cannot be foreseen today, said CC spokesman Hans-Peter Suchand. In general, however, one could say: “All major events such as balls and meetings take place.”

Several restaurateurs from downtown Cologne have announced that they will not open on November 11th, as this is too uncertain for them with the increasing incidence. Kuckelkorn said that many hosts had committed themselves to a 2G rule. It should not be denied that this was connected with the risk of escalation on November 11th.

Want to wait until 2022? Baden-Württemberg is also celebrating a carnival in February 2022

In Baden-Württemberg, too, the revelers are already planning their carnival season. 2G will apply to hall events – this has already been agreed between the associations and the Ministry of Health.

A hygiene concept should apply to street events. How exactly this should look like for the Carnival events is still open.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Cologne Carnival

Why are the carnival days always at a different time in the year?

This is due to the biblical calendar, because Rose Monday is always 48 days before Easter Sunday.

Why is the number 11 so special in Cologne?

According to the festival committee of the Cologne Carnival, the number 11 symbolizes the unity in the carnival. She puts the one next to the one, which means “every Jeck is the same”.

Since when have the people of Cologne actually been celebrating Carnival?

On February 10, 1823, the first Rose Monday procession took place in Cologne. The motto “Accession to the throne of the Carneval hero”. The festival committee of the Cologne Carnival was also founded in the same year.

How much revenue does the Carnival in Cologne generate?

The Cologne Carnival generates an average total turnover of around 460 million euros per session. That is what the Bund Deutscher Karneval found out.

How much do the people of Cologne actually spend on their costume?

The average value is around 53 euros. And who would have thought it: at an average of 59 euros, their costume is worth almost ten euros more to men than to women. On average, they only pay 48 euros, according to the deals.com internet portal.

What is actually the most erotic costume at the Cologne Carnival?

According to a study by the statistics portal “statista”, women are mainly into adventure – pirates, sailors, musketeers or princesses. Men are more likely to be weak in nurse, stewardess, and nun costumes.

What does carnival actually mean?

According to Duden, the word carnival is made up of the Latin words “carnis” for meat and “levare” for “to take away”. That means something like Carnival is celebrated until Ash Wednesday, before Lent begins and the “meat is taken away”.

How high is the penalty if you are caught peeing everywhere?

That can be expensive, because the city of Cologne imposes fines between 35 and 150 euros.

Is it actually allowed to call in sick on Ash Wednesday with a “hangover”?

The legal magazine Legal Tribune Online says yes! Because in labor law the principle applies: sick is sick. Even if it is your own fault for simply drinking too much alcohol. (The case law assumes that the employee was not responsible for his incapacity for work.)

What does “Alaaf” actually mean?

The word “Alaaf” probably comes from the Kölsch “all af”, which means “about everything”. So when you shout “Kölle alaaf”, it means something like “Cologne about everything”.

Why do you actually dress up for carnival?

In the past, people put on creepy masks and made a lot of noise with rattles and bells. Your goal: to scare away evil winter spirits. Today dressing up should just be fun.

Tim Gumbert
Tim Gumbert
Tim is the go-to guy when it comes to finding all the gems regarding life as an Expat in Germany. His whole motto is discover Germany on your own and without a roadmap, explore new routes while climbing or mountain biking.


  1. Alaaf derives from All af, which means alles ab. in modern english equivalent to lets go, or literally „everything off“
    it was used in early karneval for kamelle, food and goods thrown in the crowd by parade attendees. crowd yelled Kamell und Allaaf.

    originated from cologne docks when ships had to load of all goods because of its regional trade and customs power


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