Schwellkoeppe on Mainz carnival, © Photo Farmer© Photo Farmer

A threefold thundering Helau

Carnival in Mainz and Rhinehessen

The Mainz Carnival is one of the largest and most traditional events in the city. It is also described as the fifth season. The first Rose Monday parade took place in 1838 and today, 180 years later, it still has great significance for the Mainzers. In addition to Cologne and Dusseldorf, Mainz is one of the strongholds of the Rhineland Carnival. The importance of the carnival is also reflected in the cityscape, for example, by sculptures but also the Fastnachstbrunnen, which is located on the Schillerplatz. For carnival enthusiasts, there is also the year-round open Carnival Museum, which can be found since 2004 in Mainz.

The Carnival belongs to Mainz and Rhine-Hesse like the roll to wine and is considered one of the largest and most traditional folk festivals in Germany! The starting signal for the "fifth season" is given annually on November 11th at 11:11 am on Mainz's Schillerplatz, where jesters gather around the Carnival Fountain to listen to the announcement of the foolish constitution. From this moment on, the official Mainz Carnival colors of red, white, and blue set the tone throughout the city, marking the beginning of the festive activities on the streets and in the halls.

The highlight of the Mainz Carnival is the kilometers-long Rose Monday Parade, which starts from the Neustadt and winds through the Old Town every year. Let yourself be infected by the good spirits of the music groups, flag-wavers, and committees, and admire political floats, uniformed guards, and typical "Schwellköpp" – oversized figures made of papier-mâché!

In 2024, the Carnival is themed: "For Carnival, Mainz on the Rhine invites the whole world to have a drink."

What you should know about the Mainz Carnival

The grand finale of the Mainz Carnival takes place on Rose Monday with the Carnival Parade. It is one of the largest in Germany and has a history of over 170 years. In various districts of Mainz, smaller parades take place on the days leading up to it. But also in many other Rhine-Hessian towns, there is the opportunity to participate in a Carnival Parade.

Schwellkoeppe on Mainz carnival, © Photo Farmer

Mainz Rose Monday Parade 2024

The highlight for every fool is the Rose Monday Parade of Mainz Carnival:

On Rose Monday, February 12, 2024, it kicks off promptly at 11:11 am and winds its way through the most beautiful streets of the city center. It reaches its climax around the Mainz Cathedral.

All dates of the Mainz Carnival

Impressions from Mainz Carnival

For almost 200 years, the Mainz Carnival has been attracting young and old to the streets of the city center with its Rose Monday Parade, allowing everyone to marvel at the colorful festivities and the consistently surprising floats. Here you get an exciting glimpse into the fifth season on the streets of Mainz.




Interesting Facts about Mainz Carnival

What colors are typical for Mainz Carnival, where does the exclamation 'Helau' come from, and why are there Kreppel everywhere in Mainz during Carnival? Find the answers to these and many more questions here!


What are the colors of Mainz Carnival?

The colors of Mainz Carnival are Red, White, Blue, and Yellow. Evidence of these colors being used on the fools' caps of participants can be traced back to the early 19th century. While the specified color sequence has become dominant in recent decades and can be seen both in the cityscape and on various carnival items, the exact order was not initially established. The definitive origin story of the Mainz Carnival colors is as unclear as their origin and meaning. It is often said in Mainz that the colors originated as a satire of the French flag, symbolizing the Mainzers' disdain for the French occupation of the city. However, there is no evidence supporting this story, making it one of many legends enriching the mythos of Mainz Carnival.

What is the Mainz Carnival shout?

The well-known Carnival shout "Helau!" is encountered at every corner during the foolish season in Mainz. While the origin of the Cologne fools' call "Kölle alaaf!" can be linguistically traced back to the 16th century, the origin of the Mainz Carnival shout is not entirely clear. However, it is established that the Mainzers were inspired by the Düsseldorf fools, whom they visited in 1935. "Helau" prevailed over other calls and has been an integral part of Mainz Carnival since at least 1937.

How do I get to the Mainz Rose Monday Parade?

The Rose Monday Parade runs from Mainz Neustadt on a route of over 7 km through the most beautiful streets of the state capital into Mainz Altstadt. Due to road closures and disruptions throughout the city center, there are no parking facilities in close proximity to the Rose Monday Parade. It is recommended to use buses and trains to reach the parade and to park your car outside the city center.

For further information and current updates on road closures related to the Rose Monday Parade, as well as public transportation availability, please visit the Mainzer Mobilität website.

How long is the Mainz Rose Monday Parade?

The Mainz Rose Monday Parade covers a distance of 7.2 km, leading from Mainz Neustadt to Altstadt. The entire length of the parade has now reached 9 km and takes approximately 4 hours for all floats to complete the route.

Why are there Kreppel (doughnuts) during Mainz Carnival?

As the carnival season heralds the beginning of Lent, people in the Middle Ages used to indulge in hearty meals before fasting. The consumption of fatty and rich foods was recommended to strengthen oneself for the upcoming fasting period. Since Kreppel (also known as Krapfen or berliner) contain plenty of sugar, are sweet, have a sweet filling, and are deep-fried in fat, they were suitable as a treat before entering the fasting season.

Fassenacht's Kreppel

A pastry that divides opinions on its name. Some call them 'Krapfen,' others refer to them as Berliners, but for true Mainzers, it's clear: during Fassenacht, they must be Kreppel. As the foolish festivities are just around the corner, pastry is a must. That's why we have prepared a particularly fancy version of the universally beloved Kreppel for you.


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Carnival beyond the foolish season!

By the way, on Ash Wednesday, it's not all over...

The Mainz Carnival Museum, which documents the eventful 200-year history of the fifth season, is open year-round for you. Additionally, you can find numerous references to the Mainz Carnival throughout the city. The Carnival Fountain and the Carnival Museum, with almost nine meters and 200 figures, stand as year-round symbols of this piece of Mainz identity on Schillerplatz, making it one of the most impressive monuments to the city's foolish history.