The Carnival period is known by the inhabitants of Cologne as the 'fifth season.' In fact, the entire city goes mad for a number of days. The Carnival actually begins on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at eleven minutes past eleven, and ends on Ash Wednesday. Prunksitzungen, giant ceremonial parties, begin in January/February, and things reach a climax on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday), when a massive parade is held. 40 Carnival societies, some of them over 100 years old and 122 bands march through the streets, throwing sweets and flowers into the crowds. Near the end of January, the gay-oriented festivities, Röschen Sitzung, take place.