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 …
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.
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.
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.
Watching over the revelers.
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.