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Germany

Germany celebrates the start of Carnival season

Revelers in Germany have taken to the streets to celebrate the first day of the Carnival season. Despite a forecast of inclement weather, party-goers are expected in droves.

At precisely 11:11 in the morning, the Carnival festivities officially began.

Until next week's Ash Wednesday, cities and towns in the Rhineland turn into a massive party, complete with costumes, parades and tons of traditional Carnival songs.

Tens of thousands of party-goers are expected in Carnival centers Cologne, Düsseldorf and Mainz to celebrate what locals in the Rhine region call “the fifth season." Thursday, the first day of the season, is known as Weiberfastnacht, or Women's Day. To celebrate, women often cut off men's ties, symbolically taking over control of their cities for the day.

The festivities take place each year in the last week before Lent, which is the 40-day religious period before Easter observed by Christians around the world.

hc/dr (dpa, AFP)