Helau! Helau! or Kölle alaaf! Karneval
Germany has started its Carnival party, and oh what a party. The festivities are different depending on which region or which city you end up in, but I think it is safe to say it is a big party.
The celebrations in Cologne of Women's Day in the carnival season can be disconcerting for anyone unprepared, particularly men, as it will feature the time-honoured ritual of snipping off all men's neckties with large scissors.
Should any astonished male visitors from abroad be puzzled by this custom, giggling women will be explain to them in salacious detail, which item of male anatomy is being celebrated in this carnival tease.
Police in Cologne said they had put 143 revellers in the cells Thursday night, when an estimated 150,000 people danced and sang in city bars and on the streets. Police responded to 1,147 calls overnight including 160 incidents of brawling.
In the nearby city of Dusseldorf, an elderly man was run over by a tram Thursday and died in hospital of his injuries, shortly after a 20-year-old male reveller had fallen onto tracks and been run over by a mass-transit train.