In addition to the traditional Carnival organized by the Festkomitee, in the 1980's the so-called "Alternative" Carnival, which by now has become a beloved tradition , was established. Originally an idea of young people, today the "Alternative" Carnival involves all generations.
The programme is quite extensive and includes the "Stunk-Sitzung" in the E-Werk, the Ghost Parade on Saturday evening as well as the burning of the "Nubbel" late on Tuesday evening.
Unlike the other parades in which the ordinary Carnival fan is a mere spectator, everyone who shows up in a ghostly costume can get involved in the Ghost Parade. The parade's tradition, which was revived in 1992, can be traced back to the Middle Ages. For more information take a look at www.geisterzug.de.
Before the daily grind suddenly returns on Ash Wednesday and pretends that nothing had happened, in many parts of the city the "Nubbel" is burned in the evening. During the crazy days of the carnival every sin that is committed is projected onto the straw figure, so that it, together with it all the sins, can be burned and forgotten with the end of carnival. When it is burning, songs of lamentation and also cheerful songs are sung.
The torchlight processions on the eve of Ash Wednesday (punctually at midnight, assembly as of 22.00 hrs) with its subsequent ceremony is a unique experience. Impressive Nubbel burning ceremonies can be seen all around the Agneskirche and all over the Südstadt, Ehrenfeld and Nippes.
Gay and lesbians groups have also organized themselves in Carnival. Corresponding events are held in the Gloria, Limelight and Bürgerhaus Stollwerck among others.