Cologne: "positive state of emergency" Day Four - Ghost parade
The Ghost-Parades Chronicle
Without the first Gulf War there maybe wouldn’t have been any Ghost-Parades.
In Germany, police forces lacked the capacities to account for both, increased coverage of (public) objects and at the same time secure the carnival parades of the Rhine lands. Therefore the street carnival got prohibited. The official reason "in times of war one shouldn’t party too unrestrained" was pretentious, since during the war in Yugoslavia such piety did not occur. In New Orleans Americans celebrated like in any other year.
It appeared that anti-militarism and skepticism of authorities are readily compatible with the idea of carnival in Cologne.
Inspired by the suggestion of Erich Hermans, the Cologne Plenum for Peace acted and called for a anti-Gulf War manifestation on the grounds of the common route for the Shrove-Monday-Parade. The adherents of the official carnival didn’t want to leave the streets to the "slobs" and joined the manifestation. This mixture became one of the most beautiful parades in Cologne history. It was probably a unique moment when the whole Schildergasse sang "Schneeflöckchen, weiß Röckchen " (a nursery-rhyme about snow).
The Rebirth of the Ghost-Parade
After they had witnessed the impressive atmosphere of this anti-Gulf War parade, many people asked: How will Fastelovend/ carnival go on in Cologne? Will it remain in the hands of the official carnivalists? Are the only alternatives to watch the "Stunksitzung", to launch spontaneous parades just ahead of the "real" parades, to burn the "Nubbel" and a couple of good ideas which mark some school-, quarter- and outskirts’ parades?
A press call by Erich Hermans in 1991 eventually reached people who were willing to implement and nourish a new age-old form of carnival.