In Germany, carnival is celebrated mainly along the Rhine. At this time of year, you'll meet Germans in Mainz, Cologne or Düsseldorf like you never thought you would.
The most popular costume for carnival: the clown.
In Germany's mainly Catholic cities along the Rhine, Carnival is something altogether different. Here it's so bound up with the yearly routine that it’s commonly referred to as 'the fifth season'.
The celebration of Carnival is deeply rooted in Catholicism and connected to the observance of Lent with some of its traditions dating back to the Middle Ages.
But many of the Carnival traditions observed here today only go back to the days of the Prussian occupation of the Rhine region in the early 19th century.
Carnival along the Rhine is a time of year for people to let loose and have fun. They'll be drinking and partying until they have to sober up 40 days before Easter.
And it's a time of year when you'll experience Germany and the Germans in a way you never thought possible.