Karneval is one of the oldest traditions celebrated, not only in Germany, but in many countries throughout the world. The tidal waves of Karneval revelry are particularly strong in the Rhineland, since that is where it had its beginning. Abbot Rudolph von St. Trond wrote about it in the year 1133: “Everything was festive, everyone relaxed, drank and made merry”. People wore funny suits and costumes. In those days, it was called “Carrus navales” or "Carne vale.”

Throughout the centuries the Karneval grew bigger and better, and by February 10, 1823, when Prinz Karneval was crowned in the city square “Neumarkt” in Cologne, it had developed into a massive celebration with great parades and city-wide revelry in many countries throughout the world. The Karneval period begins every year on the 11th day of November at 11 minutes after 11 and is celebrated continuously with parties, festive dinners, dances and masquerade balls until Ash Wednesday.

The old custom has withstood the test of the centuries up to the present day and enjoys an ever greater following year after year. It is our hope that this heritage will continue to thrive, and with a unified spirit we will continue to nurture and enjoy this oldest of German folk festivals in the “New World”.

Karl Petermann