Nothing'll stop Blankenheim from celebrating carnival!

  • Published
  • By Nicole Flohr
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Community Relations
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following commentary is from Nicole Flohr, formerly of the 52nd Fighter Wing Community Relations office, and is about her home city of Blankenheim and the Carnival tradition they've celebrated for the last 403 years. This year's celebrations -- Geisterzug ("Ghost Parade") and Rosenmonntag ("Rose Monday") -- respectively took place Feb. 5 and Feb. 8, 2016.


My city of Blankenheim, located in Nordrhein-Westfalen near the northern border to Rheinland-Pfalz and the east of Belgium, doesn't need to fear any comparison with larger cities like Cologne or Mainz when it comes to the fifth season also known as Carnival.

It may be a much smaller city of more than 8,000 people, but every corner is steeped in history. The lovely city with its old timbered houses and historical gates (the Shepherds Gate dates back to 1404 and the Georgs Gate from 1670) celebrated its 900th anniversary last year.


But so much for a historical insight, let's get back to the topic at hand: CARNIVAL!!!


Blankenheim's own Carnival Club was founded in 1613. Sure, you will tell me that a big city like Cologne's carnival history goes back even further than those 400 years.

But does Cologne have a ghost parade? Yes.

But did it have this parade for 400 years now? NO!!


This is what makes Blankenheim so special -- by nearly a quarter of a millenium over Cologne's ghost parade!

It is the only city across Germany that celebrates this unique parade since 1613. Ever since then, they have had this awesome parade which goes back to old traditions to say good-bye and good riddance to the dreary winter spirits while heralding in the warmer spring weather.


Ahead of the parade are the two "Jeckeboehnche" (jesting beans) and the "Schelleboeumche" (Turkish crescent/clamps). According to old folklore, the ghosts will wear bed sheets and shape two ears above their heads with a cord.


The whole inner city will darken when the spring ghosts roam the streets equipped with pitch torches while the band plays the traditional song which also sports the jesters' call for Carnival in Blangem: JUH JAH (pronounced "Yew Yah!") (I've done my best to translate this from our town's unique dialect into German and then into American English-- it may not be 100 percent, but it's close enough to give you an idea.)

Juh Jah, Kribbel in dr Botz
Juh jah, Kribbel en der Botz
Wer dat net hätt, dä es nix notz!
Juh jah, Kribbel en der Botz
De Fassenach es do!
Ne richtige Fastelovensjeck
Dä freut sich över jeden Dreck!
Juh Jah Kribbel en dr Botz
De Fassenaach es do!

Juh jah, jittery in the pants
Who hasn't this,
that one isn't worth it!

Juh jah, jittery in the pants
The carnival is here!
A real carnival mad
He is happy about every rubbish
Juh Jah jittery in the pants
The Carnival is here!


Ihr von Blankenheim
An der Ahr entsprossen,
und wo sonst daheim.
Wollen unsern Lehren,
nicht den Rücken kehren,
Des Lebens rechte Freud`zeigen wir Euch heut!

Carnival comrades!
You from Blankenheim

Sprouted from the Ahr river
and from wherever else.

We don't want to turn our backs to our doctrines.
The joy of life we will show you today!


Kommt ihr Junggesellen!
her in unsern Bund,
Unsere Freudenquellen,
laben Herz und Mund!
Viel blühend rosig Mädchen,
drehn sich wie die Rädchen,
Jedem bleibt die Wahl, in der großen Zahl!

Come here bachelors!
Here to our union,

Our sources of joy,
refresh heart and mouth!

Many blossoming girls, spin like wheels,
Everyone gets a choice, with such a big variety!


Unser ganzen Streben,
ist nur Narretei,
Denn es kann im Leben,
niemand glücklich sein,
Bleibet treu dem Alten,
es wird sich schon gestalten,
Zufrieden Euer Los, schafft und hoffet bloß!

All our pursuit, is nothing
but folly
'cause in life,
nobody can be happy,

Stay true to the old, it will shape itself, 
Satisfied your lot, work and hope for the best!


The chief ghost is the only ghost which is allowed to wear big wings and ride a horse. He follows close behind the "Jeckeboehnche." Those two jump up and down the street leading the parade.

The chief ghost is also the carnival prince and will be on the most festive float of the carnival parade.


And, of course, many cities in Germany cancelled their big Rose Monday parades because of bad weather.

However, the parade in Blankenheim still took place!


The local peasants and farmers are used to rough weather, and nothing will stop them if they want to celebrate carnival!

Three times--

Blangem Juh Jah!

Eifel Juh Jah!

Carnival Juh Jah!


Photos by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden and Nicole Flohr. To see all of the photos from Blankenheim Carnival, visit the photo album on the Spangdahlem Flickr Page.