Carnival 2020 in Munich - We have all the highlights

Faschingsumzug der Damischen Ritter am 19.2.2017, Foto: muenchen.de / Mónica Garduño
Foto: muenchen.de / Mónica Garduño The fools parade through the town: Carnival procession of the traditional club "Damische Ritter"

Munich Fasching: What you shouldn't miss during carnival season

Other countries celebrate carnival - in Munich it's called Fasching! At the many traditional balls, the "Weiberfasching" on Thursday before Shrove Tuesday, the popular marketers dance at Viktualienmart and, of course, the grand finale parties (Kehraus), the people of Munich prove that our Fasching is a real highlight! Find out what the season brings right here.

The big parade: Carnival procession of the "Damische Ritter"

It is impossible to imagine Munich's street carnival without them: On Sunday, February 16, 2020, the traditional club "Damische Ritter" (foolish knights) move through the city centre in a big parade - a tradition revived in 2006. Their Duke Kasimir leads the carnival procession on his wooden horse with over 30 Munich groups every year. Watch out for colorfully painted floats, funny music, waving "Faschingsnarren" (carnival goers), and above all a lot of sweets. But please let the children go first...

Quite exuberant: How Munich students celebrate

Fasching, Karneval, Party, Foto: OlyLust
Foto: OlyLust

Even seasoned people from the Rhineland (Germany's carnival stronghold) are astonished by this: For more than 40 years, students have been celebrating at Munich's Olympic Village and even non-academics have been allowed into their not-so-sacred halls. This year, they will transform the "Alte Mensa" (old cafeteria) into a forest for four days - the theme of the event is "Magic Forest" from 20 to 24.2.2020. Look out for trolls and fairies at Germany's largest student student carnival (Gemeinschafszentrum Alte Mensa, Helene-Mayer-Ring 9).

And there is a second carnival institution in Munich's academic environment: In the Biedersteiner Wohnheim (student dormitory) in Schwabing, a double student party with an equally legendary reputation takes place. Watch out: At the cellar carnival (date to follow) as well as the atrium carnival (20/22.2.2020), only those who are dressed up will get in! (Studentenwohnheim Biederstein Biedersteinerstr. 22-30).

Celebrate carnival in style: The Munich Fasching balls

Ball der Sterne im Deutschen Theater, Foto: Gert Krautbauer
Foto: Gert Krautbauer

If you like elegant costumes and a festive atmosphere, then the many Munich Faschingsbälle (carnival balls) are just what you are looking for - the most famous one take place in two renowned locations in the city:

In the Deutsches Theater, (Schwanthalerstr. 13), dancing is the main attraction during the ball season - and that by the dozen. Whether typically Bavarian in traditional Lederhosen and Dirndl costume at the "Oide Wiesn Bürgerball" (24.1.2020), with top-class dancers at the "Münchner Tanznacht" (15.2.2020) or in festive evening dress at the "Rosengala" (23.2.2020) with show program.

In the famous hotel Bayerischer Hof (Promenadeplatz 6) you can present yourself in the most beautiful ball gown at the "Medizinerball" (24.2.2020) - medical non-experts are also welcome here, but evening dress and a noble face mask are mandatory. No less wild, but more exotic is the Brazilian "Carnival in Rio" (22.2.2020) - if you suffer from stiff hips, you should better avoid this hot samba evening.

Also legendary is the "Gauklerball" (jugglers' ball) at the Künstlerhaus (Lenbachplatz 8) on 8.2.2020 with changing mottos and the "Rauschende Faschingsball" (roaring carnival ball) at the National Museum (Prinzregentenstr. 3) (14.2.2020). Unfortunately, the traditional "Weiße Feste", a party event featuring completely white dresses,  can not take place in the Max-Emanuel-Brauerei as usual, but there will be an alternative in a different district -  "White Festival in Allach" (Allacher Schießstätte, Servetstr. 1). (7./14./15.2.2020). Of course, you will also have to dress in white here.

Carnival balls and parties for children

Narrhalla - Pumucklball im Bayerischen Hof, Foto: Narrhalla
Foto: Narrhalla

Of course, Fasching is always a special time for the kids. In Munich, the little carnival goers get their share of fun at the following balls:

Master Eder and his Pumuckl (characters from a well-known german children's TV series) celebrate a "Pumuckl Kinderball" (9.2.2020) at the Bayerischer Hof (Promenadeplatz 6). Besides countless cowboys and princesses, the prince and princess couple of the Fasching group Narhalla will be present, together with guards and the children's prince and princess couple.

A funny mixture of dance games and shows awaits you at the "Children's Carnival at the Deutsches Theater" (Schwanthalerstr. 13) (16.2.2020). Highlight is a performance of the children's ballet Junghanns.

At the "Children's Ball of the "Damische Ritter" (Nymphenburger Str. 2) (23.2.2020) in the Löwenbräukeller Duke Kasimir will welcome you on his high horse. If he is not leading a polonaise himself, the clowns of the dancing school Neubeck will entertain you.

Countdown to the grand finale: Fat Thursday

Archiv: Unsinniger Donnerstag auf dem Viktualienmarkt, Foto: muenchen.de/Katy Spichal (Archiv)
Foto: muenchen.de/Katy Spichal (Archiv)

The Weiberfasching (women's carnival) on February 20 is the big starting signal for the final of the Munich carnival. In Southern Germany, that day is also known as "Unsinniger Donnerstag" - which literally translates as nonsensical thursday, but is probably better known as Fat Thursday. Since the women are firmly in power all day long, the ties of all men are in danger. A colourful programme starts at the Viktualienmarkt as early at 2 pm: Look forward to dancing guards, the famous "Marktweiber" (female marketers from Viktualienmarkt) and party music. Afterwards, it's on to the "Zum Stiftl" inn and the Ratskeller (Marienplatz 8). That's where most parties for the "Weiberfasching"  take place. Flirt factor there: extremely high!

The big street carnival in the city centre: "München narrisch"

Verkleidete Faschingsfans am Faschingsdienstag, Foto: muenchen.de / Leonie Liebich 2019
Foto: muenchen.de / Leonie Liebich 2019

No, it's not Rio de Janeiro - but of course the people of Munich know how to do street carnival in style! From Shrove Tuesday to Shrove Tuesday (23rd to 25th February 2020), the pedestrian zone between Stachus and Viktualienmarkt is a hive of activity with dance groups, live bands and DJs - and in the evening the dressed up "Faschingsnarren" (carnival goers) continue their party in the clubs and pubs. "München narrisch" is the name of the big open-air party in the city centre, the highlight of which is the traditional dance of the market women on Shrove Tuesday.

The highlight on Shrove Tuesday: dance of the market women

Tanz der Marktfrauen, Foto: muenchen.de / Leonie Liebich 2019
Foto: muenchen.de / Leonie Liebich 2019

It's a beloved tradition that has long since turned into an absolute highlight of the Fasching season: The "Tanz der Marktweiber" (dance of the market women from Viktualienmarkt). For the ladies, preparations for their time in the spotlight start as early as October. After months of excercising, they finally present their new dances on Shrove Tuesday (February 25) in their extraordinary costumes, each of which will show which stall the market woman normally works at. Starting in the early morning,  the people of Munich flock to the Viktualienmarkt to catch the perfect spot for watching this spectacle.

All things come to a roaring end at the "Kehraus"

Faschingsparty

Before the carnival season is all over at midnight and Ash Wednesday heralds the start of Lent - in Bavaria with a public ban on dancing and partying - treat yourself to an unforgettable party the night before. The "Kehraus" is the grand finale of Munich's Fasching, and it is celebrated in style at many different locations.

At Muffatcafé (Zellstr. 4) there will be a Kehraus-Party with DJ Tomahawk, while the Ruby club (Neuhauser Str. 47) promises a Carnival party like in Cologne, with Kölsch beer instead of typical Bavarian wheat beer. The "Kehraus-Party" of the carnival society Gleisenia in the Hofbräukeller (Innere Wiener Str. 19) ends at midnight with the traditional Prince's funeral.

Anyone who has not celebrated until now has missed the very last chance. Fasching is now gone for a long time - that is, until November 11. Then the "Faschingsnarren" will return to the stage with the proclamation of the new carnival prince and princess couple at Viktualienmarkt. 

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