A river enveloped in different species of fireworks on five different dates, that’s Rhein in Flammen. In English, this magnificent display flame and flash is known as the Rhine in Flames. Germany never ceases to astound and this annual celebration on the river Rhine solidifies this claim.
This festival lights the darkest of nights, leaving its viewers captivated. As beautiful as this festivity is, its history is equally engrossing.
This bright festival has an equally glittery history behind it. The concept of fireworks gained prominence during the Baroque period. These items of sparkling fire came to Germany as inspiration from their neighbor, France. In the era of King Louis XIV, the celebratory moments were savored by lighting the streets and skies with fireworks. It was a common practice in France that gradually slipped into the lands of Germany. So, this is how the fireworks earned their place in Germany.
Coming to the Rhein in Flammen, this festival formally came into existence in the year 1756. Sometime during this year, the Trier Elector Johann Philipp von Walderdorff came to visit the city of Koblenz. The citizens of Koblenz were exhilarated by the presence of Johann Philipp von Walderdorff and to commemorate the delightful occasion, they lit up the streets of Koblenz with colorful fireworks.
Ships loaded with artilleries were employed to shoot fireworks in the sky. This day marked the inception of Rhein in Flammen. However, after almost a century later, another event firmly stitched the Rhein in Flammen in the festival calendar of Germany.
It was August 1945. The Queen Victoria of England and Prince Albert sailed their way to the waters of Germany to celebrate their honeymoon. The Queen was awestruck by the exquisite landscape of Rhine and decided to glare at its beauty by spending hours sitting on the deck of the boat, but the trail of pleasant surprises had just begun. At noon, their ship reached the shores of Koblenz. Here, they were warmly greeted by dazzling bursts of cannon shots and rifle volleys. At midnight, the whole cityscape of Koblenz was illuminated with lights and fireworks. The night sky was lit up by this flashy display. The Queen, Prince, and the Englishmen accompanying them were spellbound by this gesture and declared it as the best they had received.
In the years that came, Rhein in Flammen remained out of the scene for a considerable period. There are almost no documents supporting its celebration in the later era, but, we can’t simply dash towards conclusions due to the lack of supporting evidence. It could be that this festival of lights was enjoyed in a more subtle fashion or the occasions on which it was celebrated were of less historical importance.
However, in the mid-twentieth century, Rhein in Flammen rose to prominence again. There are concrete reports of Rhein in Flammen being widely enjoyed during the early 1930s. Tens of events were hosted to mark this day of celebrations. It only during the cold years of the Second World War when the lights of this festival saw a dimming phase. However, as the war reached its concluding days, Rhine in Flames came back to life. In the year 1956, just 11 years after the second world war, the river Rhine was adorned with fireworks and the city of Koblenz was radiating with lights and fireworks. It seems the flames of this festival simply refuse to die down.
In the current times, Rhine in Flames is celebrated with a much flashy spirit. The celebration continues until five different nights, attracting several visitors and admirers from every corner of the country. This festival of lights virtually lights up the river Rhine. This carnival is, however, not restricted to fireworks as it remains unfinished without the essential inclusion of brightly illuminated ships that sail the visitors to the particular sites of the river that will host the fireworks. These water vessels are adorned with dazzling lights that match the occasion. The sails are set loose during the evening hours, carrying passengers to witness the alluring display of fireworks from each location of the river. It is given utmost priority that no viewer misses out these cherishable moments of the bright night, so the fireworks begin once the ships have arrived at the spot.
The ships lie stagnant between the two castles called Burg Maus and Burg Rheinfels when the fireworks initiate at Sankt Goar and Sankt Goarshausen.
The Rhein in Flammen begins on the first Saturday in May and the event is hosted in the city of Bonn. The second day is celebrated in July at Rüdesheim-Bingen area. Then comes the peak point of this fireworks festival on the second Saturday in the month of August, which occurs at Koblenz. Oberwesel guests the event in early September. In mid-September, the firecrackers burst in the middle of the river Rhine between Sankt Goar and Sankt Goarshausen and that marks the final day of the festival.
But, fireworks and blinding lights aren't the only themes of this festival. On the banks of the River Rhine, the infamous wine festival take place. The inviting aroma of wine captures thousands of visitors every year. The fresh flavor of liquor adds more to the celebratory tone of Rhein in Flammen. The sight of burning castles, brightly loud fireworks and elegantly moving ships and don’t forget the river shores serving wine, all these awe-inspiring moments can be savored at the Rhein in Flammen festival.
The amount of passion and spirit invested in these five days of illumination receives a well-deserved reception from folks all around the country. Even many foreign nationals arrive to witness the festival of river fireworks.
The wine addition we mentioned earlier comes off as the major spot of attraction as Germany truly knows how to host the best wine. The river Rhine calmly entertains several ships that are flooded with visitors, all who came to bear witness to the lights and glitters that light up the night.
So, if your next vacation trip falls anywhere near the German borders, then be sure to firmly grab the first chance to capture the marvelous sights of Rhein in Flammen festival with your own eyes.