Der See Piraten des Kölner Karnevals



The photograph seen here taken from the crowd shows a colourful and happy parade through the streets of Köhn. This colourful celebration is a part of the long standing tradition that is the Cologne Carnival. Cologne (Köhn) Suggested to pass by a clothes shop called "Kuhn" seen to the right. Likely photographed by a local as to remember this important calendar date !


Seen here in the photograph is the crowds lining the streets, filled with children in costumes. Happily seeing the colourful and detailed floats paraded through the streets. Unfortunately the photograph is damaged to the left so we cannot see what is in the float. The left shows a float just moving past with the words "Wir Sind" being readable as a part of the float translating to "We are". Seen behind this and in full detail is the "See Piraten" (Lake or Sea Pirates) float. A pirates boat is seen decorated with a bust at the front of the ship as well as shields with symbols on around the ship. A pirate can be seen on the ship, armed with a cannon ! The Pirate is seen with a small hat, beard and long hair. Seen above him standing in the tall mast, looking out from the Crows Nest is another Pirate ! He is seen with a spyglass in his hand, also with long hair and a small hat.

Seen walking happily alongside the floats are children dressed up as cowboys. One can be seen looking towards the camera with a cowboy hat on whilst behind can be seen another cowboy with a belt seen looking the opposite way.


Some adoration can be given to the effort the people of Cologne went through not only to hand make and create the floats as well as costumes they are wearing but the organisation each year to keep this tradition going. This is a stunning photograph that gives a first person view from the crowd at the floats of the parade. This giving a real feel of the atmosphere of the event, a festival enjoyed by all the family. A exact day or date is not confirmed but due to the lack of NSDAP involvement of symbols it is suggested to be pre Third Reich, possibly late 1920s.



In a chronological order of the tradition from:


Cologne Carnival has been a long standing tradition in Germany. It is suggested that it originated some 190 years ago, suggested to be as old as the city of Cologne itself. The Romans and Greeks are said to of celebrated similar joyful spring festivals, these were to honour Dionysus (God of wine, winemaking, grape cultivation, fertility, ritual madness, theatre and religious ecstasy) and Saturn (God of generation, dissolution, plenty, wealth, agriculture, periodic renewals and liberation). The ancient Germans were said to have celebrated the winter solstice with belief this would pay respects and homage to the gods whilst driving out the evil demons of winter. As the times progressed Christians adopted these traditions, with the period of Lent (fasting before Easter). This was introduced with the 'Carnival - Carne Vale', meaning farewell to meat.


In the middle ages the Street Carnival celebration and its masquerade took on drastic forms , this was to the displeasure and disproval of the city's council and the church at the time. The banning and ordinances had no affect as the people continued to practice their wild and spirited Revels.


In the 18th Century the Street Carnival still had its boisterous and wild flair, to this the extension of "Redoutes" were added. "Redoutes" being elegant masked and elegant dress balls in a Venetian style. This was added with the initial reason to represent and preserve the aristocracy in addition to the wealthy merchant class.

1794 saw Cologne captured by the French revolutionary troops. The new French rulers stilled allowed the locals of Cologne to celebrate the carnival the "de faire son tour", thus allowing the parades to continue. Soon after this the Prussians took control and were much stricter than the French. However this didn't stop the locals from their traditions. The Carnival become more cultivated and romanticized, becoming bourgeois and structured with a greater organisation. The Carnival welcoming the new idea of 'Carnival Hero, this introduction would later evolve to the present days Prince Carnival.


1823 was the year that the official Festival Committee was founded. On February 10th in 1823 the first Rose Monday parade was held with the motto "Inthronization of the Carnival Hero". Soon after this, the newly founded Festival Committee inspired for the foundations on which the Carnival was founded and developed on to branch out, with this other Carnival societies were formed. These were roughly divided into two groups according to their origins and aims.

The first group being the corps societies, these consisting of members who wear uniforms, regarding themselves as caricatures of the military . The second group being the committee societies, these members also wearing a uniform, however being identical jackets in the societies colours. This group also offered a range of Carnival themed social activities for the whole family. In 1827, medals were introduced and awarded to the deserving celebrants, this too was initially meant as a caricature of the military. 1860 saw the first "Ghost Parade" this was held on the evening of the Carnival on Saturday.


1902 saw the addition of the Guard of Honour to the Carnival, this accompanied the peasants and the maiden of the Carnival. To follow in 1906, the Prince of Carnival received his own Guard of Honour. From this in 1907, a famous composer was introduced into the Carnival


As the years progressed through the early 1900s the Cologne festival traditions continued and other societies were established. The influence and fame of the Cologne Carnival was increased with the introduction of the famous composer Willi Ostermann. Willi Osterman was a famous composer and lyricist of folk and Carnival songs, these of which were in the Cologne Dialect. Willi was first invited to write Carnival songs for the 1906/07 in collaboration with another composer Emil Neumann. They wrote the song Dem Schmitz sing Frau eß durchgebrannt (Die Frau vom schmitz is blown) This became the success Rose Monday in 1907. The following year Ostermann went on to win the award for the best song in the Cologne dialect. From then on Willi Ostermann went on to produce many songs, waltzes and marches. The Carnival in the 1927 saw Ostermann with another hit called "Rhineland Girl", he went on to have a million circulations of this song.


The Carnival still being celebrated in the 1920s and 1930s despite the economic depression, this lead to less appearances from Willi Ostermann. With the rise of National Socialism came the encouragement to join the NSDAP and famous people to show support of the party. This saw many famous people of the time show their support and influence of the party, Willi Ostermann did not at first publicly show any support or association with the NSDAP. According to Fred K Prieberg's book of the Handbook of German Musicians, there was no mention of a NSDAP card entry. However in in 1936 Ostermann and other credited artists went on a vacation trip to Madeira as a part of the KDF NSDAP organised trip . The KDF being "Kraft Durch Freude", was a sub organisation of the DAF (Deutsche Arbeits-front) 'German workers front ' The KDF was set to give paid holidays and leave to the workers of Germany. Willi Ostermann wrote a song and poem whilst on this trip, called "Maderiafahrt". The "Maderiafahrt" talks of his experience on the KDF trip. Unfortunately later that year in July 1936 Willi Ostermann was to make is final appearance, this was in Bad Neuenah at the Kurhaus where he collapsed on stage. He was taken to the Lindenburg hospital in Cologne, where he underwent a serious stomach operation. Unfortunately he stayed there till his death, just before he died he wrote a final song called "Last Song" known as "Heimweh nach Köhn" - I want to walk to Cologne. Willi Ostermann died in hospital on August 6th 1936 and buried on August 10th 1936, some 35,000 people line for the funeral procession paying their respect to the much loved composer. One of Willi Ostermanns songs known as "Och, wat was beautiful in the past, but en colonia" was played as he was buried. The whole town also closed and business shut until he was buried, he was laid to rest in the cities grave of honour.


Willi Ostermann was a man who was born and died in Cologne. He is honoured and remembered in the history of the city with his inauguration into the old town on 16 February 1939 as a part of the Weiberfastnacht. A 'Willi Ostermann fountain was erected, made of a 14 cubic block of shell limestone from Bavaria, decorated with carvings of the 15 figures which he sung about in his songs. A figure was also dedicated to him in Cologne Council Tower.


This photograph is shared on Monday 15th February 2021 - The "Fifth Season" of Cologne and its carnival spanning from 11th - 17 February. This post is shared on "Rose Monday" to which a Carnival Parade would be hosted on. During the COVID-19 Pandemic the parade unfortunately cannot be held, so this photograph will be shared to honour and remember the Heritage of the Carnival!


Safe and best wishes wherever you are in the world ~ From everyone at KB41 Collection !


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© 2016 (Reviewed and Represented 2021) by The Kriegsberichter 41