In the days when a new virus variant, which is presumed to be highly contagious, reaches Europe, sending the editor to the Christmas market, and then in Cologne, almost borders on dangerous physical harm.

But what do you not do for mulled wine at editorial costs - and possibly a little Christmas exhilaration for free?

2 G also applies to all Christmas markets in Cologne, including the one on Rudolfplatz, at least that's what a sign says.

Johanna Dürrholz

Editor in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin

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But a stroll across the market, past the stalls, is also possible with your mouth and nose covered.

On Monday evenings, the market is only full where it is always full and where small clouds of breath that smell of fermented waft over people's heads: at the mulled wine stands.

The mask can be removed at the tables, and so the Christmas market visitors stand tightly together and try to get a little in the mood despite the Omikron.

"I don't do stamps!"

Bratwurst, roasted almonds and mulled wine can also be purchased that evening without a vaccination certificate or ID. Just lingering is not without: A folder regularly passes the wooden stand tables, who scans the vaccination cards and also carefully checks the corresponding ID card. If you can show everything, you will get a stamp on your wrist, which you can simply show at the next inspection. It's a group of young men, they are prepared, even if annoyed. “I'll show it to you, Bro, but I don't do any stamps!” They are embarrassed that they can all nerdy show their ID - they don't need to have the proof of their exemplary behavior printed on them.

Little is going on at the food stalls and stands with Christmas decorations and candles. Nevertheless, the atmosphere at the sausage stand is good. "Wat de want", says the chef grill to an indecisive guest and points with a sweeping gesture at the splendor of sausages on the grill, it sounds almost like a Köbes. "You can't compare it to the time before Corona," says his colleague at the candy stand next door, while he is filling 100 grams of roasted almonds. "But at least we were allowed to open here at all."

In other federal states like Bavaria there is no Christmas market at all this year. The city of Cologne is more relaxed: With the 2-G rule, a street carnival was just celebrated here, on November 11th. Some pubs had previously announced that they would not even open - after all, a corona outbreak would have caused far more financial damage than one closed, half-cooked carnival start. But there was so much to celebrate that places like Zülpicher Strasse or Heumarkt were packed. The celebration areas were cordoned off, the evidence checked, and the Kölsch flowed freely. Nevertheless: The big bang afterwards was a long time coming. The Cologne incidence has increased since November 11th. daily, but she did that before November 11th. for days. As the WDR reported,have verifiably infected 426 people at the celebrations, only one person subsequently had to be treated in hospital. 80 percent of those infected said they celebrated indoors. The Cologne city spokesman Alexander Vogel summed up that the much feared superspreader event did not materialize - on normal days, between 400 and 500 people are currently infected in Cologne. A Kölsch motto thus came true: "Et would still have jot jejange."A Kölsch motto thus came true: "Et would still have jot jejange."A Kölsch motto thus came true: "Et would still have jot jejange."

According to this way of life, humid and happy outdoor events continue to take place in Cologne.

At the weekend, many people were outraged by the 50,000 football fans who attended the derby between 1. FC Köln and Borussia Mönchengladbach - to the delight of many Cologne residents, it ended with a victory for FC.

The images of carnival and football, just like the mood on this Monday evening at the Christmas market, have one thing in common: the Cologne happiness.

The Rhinelander are particularly sociable

Perhaps it is in the nature of the Rhinelander to be particularly sociable and not to close themselves off to the joys of life. In other years, thousands gather in the FC stadium to sing Christmas carols together, just as in other years the carnivalists in pubs hang around, sway and sing. There, and that is especially nice, old and young gather together and carry on traditions, reinterpret them and pass them on.

This is not about excessive Kölsch consumption or mere negligence in dealing with the corona virus. It is also about an attitude to life: the pictures of the young people in particular who ran through the streets laughing on November 11th, simply enjoying the moment, they are burned in. Actually, they should live so carefree much more often, that's what many Cologne residents think. Higher powers have prevented that in the past two years, we know that here too, and we accept it. But the community, the joy of life and the occasional Kölsch - they are the elixir of life for the Rhinelander, what otherwise defines everyday life in Cologne. People will need it again soon.

At the Christmas market you can still feel it here and there, the Cologne life and the joy of it.

When someone roarsly laughs or strangers stop to have a chat, simply because it's nice to meet new people (and then immediately forget them again).

And you, of course, ask: Drinks de ejne met?