When it comes to Carnival, it’s natural to think of Rio (or anywhere in Brazil for that matter) and New Orleans, which there is called Mardi Gras.
But there are other parts of the world that hold major celebrations, and one of those is Dusseldorf, Germany. In fact, it’s such a big deal there that they can’t wait until the actual Carnival dates to celebrate. This city holds a huge public party months in advance, on Nov. 11.
That’s 11/11 and it begins at 11 a.m.
Called Hoppeditz, it involves a gathering in the Marktplatz and a jester, who is the centerpiece of the event. This joker – or Hoppeditz – has been “asleep” since Ash Wednesday and awakens in a ceremony. He emerges out of a huge mustard pot that looks more like a giant beer stein in the center of the platz and gives an insulting and humorous speech known as Narrenschelte, or a joker’s scolding.
The city’s mayor, who has been listening from the steps of the town hall, then responds and afterward, everyone fills up the many bars throughout the city for the rest of the day.
Needless to say, not a lot of work or business gets done in Dussledorf on Nov. 11.
Frankly, I’m a bit unclear on all the details – let alone the “why” behind it all – but that’s irrelevant because one doesn’t need to know too much other than it’s an event worth attending because any place that has a party for an event that doesn’t actually happen for several months is a fun destination.
And, because this is so fun, the city has other events throughout the winter leading up to Carnival. The huge main celebration starts on Friday and lasts through Ash Wednesday, when the Hoppeditz is burned only to rise again on Nov. 11. More than 100,000 people are in Dussledorf for Carnival.
Carnival 2022 starts here on Feb. 24, with Ash Wednesday being on March 1.