Kamelle! The cry rents the cold, crisp Cologne air. A few thousand kids are out in cute costumes, all bundled up against the cold, eager participants in the general colour and chaos.
The official Carnival begins on Thursday with the Women’s Day, but Carnival Sunday is when families come out in full force. The streets are filled with children, accompanied by their parents, sometimes pushed around on strollers. Around 50 schools also participate, getting their kids to march in the parade in costumes created around a central theme.
I particularly loved it when parents and kids wore matching costumes, like this father with his one-year-old daughter.
The Carnival starts a few minutes past 11 in the morning, passing the street by my hotel just after noon. I got there early to watch the spectators and get some photographs. There were already hundreds of families out on the streets, the kids getting impatient by the minute.
Participants in the parade throw small chocolates, toffees and candy to the crowds, and Kamelle! is the shout for “candy! I want candy!”
And to go with the demand, kids also stood with little bags to collect the goodies for the day.
All in all, great fun. My first experience of the Cologne Carnival, also been my favourite.