- The Old Town
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Discovering Düsseldorf: Customs Carnival, Radschläger, Dialect
Helau! D'r Zoch kütt!
Would you like to experience the city in a state of emergency? Plan a visit in February. Düsseldorf is one of the bastions of the Rhenish Carnivals. The parade on Rosenmontag, the day before Shrove Tuesday, is world-famous and draws up to a million visitors every year. The starter's gun for the session traditionally goes off on 11.11. at 11.11 o'clock with the "Hoppeditz Erwachen" (Hoppeditz awakening).
"Eene Penning" for a cartwheel
When, in the year 1288, after the Battle of Worringen, Düsseldorf received its town charter, the children turned "wheels of joy". Since then, small Radschläger can be seen here and there in the city, displaying their abilities for a penny. The fastest and best ones in this discipline are crowned during the cart-wheeling tournament, which is held annually on Königsallee.
Public festival mood in the summer
Candyfloss, roller coasters and numerous beer tents - visitors to Düsseldorf in July should not miss a stroll in the Biggest Funfair on the Rhine. This public festival lasts nine days and draws up to 4 million visitors annually to the grounds on the Oberkasseler Rheinufer (banks of the Rhine). Düsseldorf's oldest marksmanship club, the Saint Sebastian Marksmanship Club of 1316, founded the fair and organises it even today.
Sport and customs - "Schützenfest"
"Schützenvereine" are rifle and heritage clubs and are as much a part of Düsseldorf as the Radschläger and carnival. The art of marksmanship goes back to the vigilante groups in the Middle Ages, when craftsmen and journeymen undertook to protect the property of the citizens against marauding enemies. There are numerous clubs active in Düsseldorf and around; the highlights of the year for the marksmen are the almost 50 festivals that take place from April to September.
Platt - et letzte Stöck von de Aldestadt
You can still hear it when the older Düsseldorfers talk among themselves or "Mäutzkes verzälle": the Düsseldorf dialect. When you hear it the first time, it is similar to the "Kölsch" (Cologne) dialect, but distinguishes itself through some special features: do you want to know what a "Rotzisch" or a "Plüschprum" is and what the Düsseldorfer means when he or she says "Et hät no immer joot jejange"? Then learn the dialect! "Mundartfreunde" run language courses for the Düsseldorf dialect. Have fun: "Spaß an de Freud"!
Lanterns for St. Martin
Getting in the mood for advent: on 10 November, it is a tradition in Düsseldorf to remember the Roman legionary St. Martin, who shared his coat with a beggar. More than a hundred St. Martin processions wind their way through the city around 10 November. St. Martin, riding on a horse, is followed by singing children with their lanterns. The highlight of every procession is when the coats are shared, which is presented rather impressively in the Old Town in front of the Old City Hall.
Tradition is of great importance in Düsseldorf - this is especially apparent during the "fifth season", when the carnival followers take over power in the city. But Düsseldorf is much more than just crazy fun: the Radschläger has become a symbol of the city in more than 700 years of its history as a custom. The biggest fair on the Rhine has an equally long tradition. It is held annually on the Oberkasseler Rheinwiesen. There are also numerous marksmanship contests to join the celebrations. And: Mer spreche Platt! (we speak dialect). The Düsseldorf dialect can still be heard today in the city.