Carnival in Cologne: Costumes, beer ... and a lot more security than usual

Atika Shubert and Mairi Mackay, CNNPublished 5th February 2016
Cologne, Germany (CNN) — More than one million people are expected to fill the streets of Cologne as the city celebrates its annual carnival season, but in the wake of the New Year's Eve attacks, thousands of police will also be on duty to prevent any repetition of the widespread mob attacks and muggings.
For centuries, carnival in Cologne has been all about ...

Dressing up

Like these revelers rocking an awesome "Top Gun" look dressed as Iceman and Maverick.

The masks ... or face paint

Or ... you know what, no one cares what you wear as long as you get involved.
Revelers at Carnival in Cologne
Atika Shubert/CNN

Music, parades and balls

Jaunty tunes fill the streets around the city's cathedral as everyone gets in on the party:
Then, of course, there's...

The beer. So. Much. Beer.

Which, if you're lucky, may lead to another carnival tradition: "butzen" or kissing.
But this year, things are a little different. The carnival is the first major public event in the city after a spate of attacks on New Year's Eve -- resulting in charges against a number of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants -- and security is high.
A woman in fancy dress speaks to the police as she takes part in Cologne's annual Carnival celebration.
Volker Hartmann/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
So, this year's Carnival is also about...

Extra police on the streets

More than 2,000 officers are patrolling as celebrations get under way.

CCTV cameras

Watching over the revelers.
 A security camera watches over revelers at Cologne's annual Carnival, near the city's cathedral on February 4, 2016.

And safe zones for women

Like this women's security point that's being checked out by a pack of fuzzy rainbows and a herd of unicorns.
Which probably sums up the feeling at this year's carnival: Nothing is going to get in the way of Cologne's biggest party.
Revelers in fancy dress celebrate Cologne's annual carnival on February 4, 2016.