Burrying the Hoppeditz
Being a stronghold of Rhineland Carnival, Düsseldorf boasts an enormous Rose Monday's parade with about a million jesters lining the pavements and shouting the local battle cry "Helau"
– probably derived from the greeting word "Hallo". However, possibly even more popular than Rose Monday's procession is the "Altweiberfastnacht" on Thursday, at least with Düsseldorf's womenfolk.
At 11.11 am on that Thursday, the town hall is stormed by "Möhnen",
literally meaning old women. These women, who are of all age groups, keep with tradition and clip the ties of as many men as possible. Düsseldorf's men have to wear ties for work on "Altweiberfastnacht". Otherwise they would be
viewed as spoilsports.
This shows that the unorganised Carnival is very popular with Düsseldorf's residents. Also on the Sunday before Rose Monday, hundreds of thousands of people gather
in "Königsallee" and in the Old Town to celebrate together. Most of the jesters wear costumes and many draw behind them trolleys filled with provisions for the day: beer, spirits and Pretzels.
Ash Wednesday. No more costumes are anywhere to be seen. The former
jesters now wear black suits, black veils and top hats. They are attending a funeral at the city museum. They'll burry the "Hoppeditz". He who opened the Düsseldorf Carnival season three months ago, on 11 November, now receives
one last farewell by hundreds of lamenters. "Goodbye Hoppeditz", the mourners are singing on their funeral march, "We'll see you again next November. Helau!"
What beer to drink in Düsseldorf: Altbier
Germany's most direct comparison with British ales, these beers are amber in colour, have a good firm malt character and are well hopped. They are quite dry, but smooth and well balanced. Never order an Altbier in Cologne!
Pictures: Düsseldorf Marketing- und Tourismus GmbH