TWIG - This year’s huge parade of carnival floats, bands and clowns which wove its way through the narrow streets of Cologne on Monday was too long to fit on the 6.5-kilometer (4-mile) route.
The head of the procession was set to reach the dispersal zone before the tail of the parade had departed from the marshalling area. An estimated 1 million people, most in fancy dress or clown makeup, gathered on the sidewalks hours in advance to sing and cheer.
Floats in Germany’s biggest annual parade were marked with the 2007 carnival motto in the city, "All of us make up Cologne". Many carried papier-mâché sculptures of German politicians to poke fun at them.
The festivities climax on Monday, known in Germany as Rosenmontag. The event has its origins as a prelude to the Catholic fasting season of Lent, which began in 2007 on Wednesday.
Similar big parades were held Monday in the cities of Mainz and Düsseldorf. Many of the 2 million revellers in the three cities dressed as pirates, reflecting the popularity in Germany of Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Germany’s banking capital Frankfurt also wound itself into carnival frenzy on Sunday with a huge street parade watched by 400,000 people who scrambled to collect 50 tons of sweets scattered to the streetside crowds. The Frankfurt parade - including 39 bands and 44 floats as well as 51 battalions of men pretending to be 19th century soldiers - was however dwarfed on Monday by the country’s biggest three parades, in Cologne, Mainz and Düsseldorf.
Sigrid Krebs, an organizer of the Cologne parade,
said it was comprised of 99 floats, 124 bands, 440 horses and about 10,000
people who were occupied during the parade throwing gifts of flowers,
chocolates and sweets to the crowds.
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