Berlin — Millions of dressed-up revellers and schoolchildren took to the streets across Germany to celebrate Carnival with elaborate costumes, chocolates and fervor Monday.
The popular street parades in traditional Carnival strongholds such as Cologne, Duesseldorf and Mainz in western Germany were drawing huge crowds of locals and tourists alike.
The Cologne parade was shortly interrupted in the afternoon when three people were injured, German news agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) reported. They were in a carriage and the horses pulling it bolted, DPA said.
All over the region, schools were closed on Shrove Monday — the pre-Lenten celebration that precedes Ash Wednesday — so children could attend the parades featuring floats, brass bands and dance groups throwing candy, chocolates and flowers to spectators.
The costly, intricately built floats often feature huge, unflattering puppets of politicians, making fun of those in power.
Among the most daring floats was one with a naked US President Donald Trump in the claws of a gigantic brown bear with the slogan “Russia scandal” written across his side.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was depicted as a black widow spider with blood-covered lips killing all her male competitors — whose names were written across little grey skulls lying in front of her.
In Duesseldorf, the Jewish community participated with its own float for the first time, depicting the famously snarky German-Jewish author Heinrich Heine, who was born in the city.
At the Cologne street parade alone, parade participants plan to throw 700,000 bars of chocolate and 300,000 bouquets of flowers to spectators, DPA reported.