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Carnival revellers celebrate during "Weiberfastnacht" (Women's Carnival) in Cologne, Germany February 23, 2017, marking the start of a week of street festivals with the highlight "Rosenmontag", Rose Monday processions. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

(reuters_tickers)

COLOGNE, Germany (Reuters) - Revellers in clown costumes and wigs kicked off six days of merriment on Thursday with Weiberfastnacht or "women's carnival", traditionally the day when women take over town halls and symbolically "castrate" men by cutting off their ties.

Carnival festivities began at precisely 11:11 a.m. in Cologne and other Catholic parts of Germany despite stormy weather and high security after an Islamist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin in December that killed 12 people.

In Mainz, police chief Achim Zahn appealed to carnival-goers to use common sense and avoid dressing up as suicide bombers with explosive belts, the German website Strand Journal reported.

Donald Trump-style wigs and masks were in high demand across Germany, where carnival activities traditionally poke fun at politicians.

Susanne Mueller, managing director of Festartikel Mueller, a Bavarian-based company that makes party costumes, told Reuters that about 30 percent of her company's wig production was dedicated to the U.S. president's blond coiffure this year.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Andrew Roche)

Reuters