... the tales of two sisters

Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.

11.11.11 11: Countdown Köln Heumarkt

The holiday season is in full blown swing! Game on!

Here in Cologne the 7 Christmas Markets opened yesterday-I can’t wait to share with all of you the magic of these historical Markets. They cast millions of visitors under their spell every year and picking up from where Dana and Nasreen left off yesterday with scents—just imagine the aromas of hot spicy mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, Lebkuchen… but wait! All that’s for another blog.

I’ve been meaning to post about the opening of the 2011 Carnival Season here, an event in and unto of itself, so here it is.

Carnival in Cologne officially begins every year at precisely the 11th minute past the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year.

It’s also the Feast of Saint Martin, the Germanic Martinstag (Martin’s Day) celebration, which is like Halloween and Thanksgiving rolled into one. Martinstag commemorates Sankt Martin (c. 317-397), Bishop of Tours, one of the most revered European saints. Probably the best-known legend connected with Saint Martin is the dividing of the cloak (die Mantelteilung), when Martin, then a soldier in the Roman army, tore his cloak in two to share it with a freezing beggar at Amiens.

Kids celebrate in long street processions carrying candle-lit lanterns singing songs and eventually end up going (what we on the other side of the pond refer to as) trick or treating.

Now, the Koelner (Cologne natives) don’t fool around with Carnival—this is serious business. People even go to work in costume. Seeing a cow or a bride walking down the street at 7:00 in the morning can catch you off guard—but it is hilarious.

The attached pictures are of me making my way home at 5:15 in the afternoon. If the streets look littered it is because they are. Though it was still relatively early, one must remember that the party had been going on since 11:11!

To really get the magnitude of how 11.11.11. 11 was kicked off at Heumarkt in the city center, take a look at the youtube video which is the title of this post. There were an estimated 30,000 merrymakers there.

Koelle Alaaf!!