Carnival craziness in Germany!
Parades, merriment, revelry mark end of carnival season in western Germany
A 'fool' celebrates in the streets of Duesseldorf, western Germany, during the traditional Rose Monday parade on March 7, 2011.
Sunshine brought out an estimated 1.5 million revellers in the western German city of Cologne for an annual carnival parade featuring bands, clowns and hundreds of tons of free sweets.
Life-sized sculpted figures on some of the parade's 150 floats drew on current events, poking fun at the likes of embattled Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi and former German defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who recently resigned amid a plagiarism scandal.
The elaborate Gaddafi float depicted about 200 human figures ripping down the dictator's house of cards with hammers and saws. The North African country has been gripped by unrest for almost three weeks in the wake of anti-Gaddafi protests.
A float at a smaller parade in nearby Dusseldorf satirized Europe's past links with the Libyan leader, showing a figure representing the continent, holding a bag of euros and kneeling before Gaddafi as he holds a barrel of oil behind his back.
Cologne's Rosenmontag festival is the climax of carnival season in Germany.
Floats in the city dispense 300 tons of chocolates, roses and trinkets as free gifts to the cheering, dancing revellers every year.
The merriment was televised live to parts of Germany where carnival is never celebrated.