What image does the word carnival invoke in you? Some scantily clad ladies in Rio
I bet you didn’t even think pancakes!
Yet it’s all linked: a final big party before Lent, finishing off the tempting bits still in the larder.
Unbelievable how different the manifestations of carnival are, isn’t it?
I really love how the Dutch celebrate carnival: It is only really celebrated in the south of the Netherlands, the Catholic part. The part where luckily for us Dadonthebrink comes from. The traditions of which he brings with him much to my and the Littlins’ delight.
There are parades, street parties and lots of people dressed up- adults and children alike. Communities come together and have lots of fun preparing for the 4 day string of events, which culminates in Shrove Tuesday. From the large and thoughtful floats, down to the costumes and choreography for the parade, all is considered. There are carnival clubs, that spend the whole year working on the following year’s project.
A Carnival council of 11 chooses a Carnival Prince for the village, school, etc on 11/11 the previous year. (11 is the crazy number in the Netherlands)
This year we’ve joined friends in Carnival celebrations, or Carnaval, as it’s known here. Due to some hiccups with getting here we missed the Farmer’s wedding on Saturday, but hooked up with our friends to watch the parade in Weert. It was massive, with 91 Carnival teams competing. Quite a few teams had more than one float too.
The costumes, face painting showed that a lot of effort had gone into the planning and preparation.
There are satires of current events captured in these projects. 50 Shades of Grey:
The Dutch, being a sport loving nation, especially into cycling, it’s no surprise that this year there were quite a few cycling and the doping scandal related scenes portrayed.
The celebrations are about fun and laughter, jokes being part of this.
After the big parade we went to the small village our friends live, Tungelroy. This is the village of Billy goat riders for the time of Carnival. Each house has a flag post with a billy goat sitting on it. It’s lovely to see communities come together like this.
The evening party was very nice. It was in the school hall. Most kids knew each other, yet adopted Little Miss and Little Man into their gang very quickly, the older ones looking after the littlins. Drinks flowed, yet no one got rat-assed, it’s just not as acceptable here. The Dutch seem to drink to just a hairline below that point where you become paralytic and don’t remember a thing the next morning. I was the designated driver by choice, so only had a cocktail at the beginning of the evening.
Next morning we were back for a brunch of BBQ-ed bacon (a throw back to the origins, i.e.b eating all meat b up before lent) and more partying, loud music, drinking. Not a bad way to spend a Monday morning!
From here we went to a bigger village’s parade. That of Nederweert. The parade wasn’t long, but was inclusive of children’s groups and disabled groups too.
Lots more jokes. One Parader, dressed in running gear, came up to us sobbing “I’ve burnt 1100 calories!”… showing us a charred pizza.
Just look at Dadonthebrink having is nail painted!
Kids especially love the Nederweert parade, because the people on floats throw sweets to the crowds. … another tradition that can beer linked to Lent coming up.
By the end of the day we had freezing children on a sugar high. Not a good combination, but nonetheless a fantastic experience for them… my 3 little gorillas! 🙂
Carnival is special: After all how often would you actually encourage your children to accept sweets from an old guy dressed as a drag Pope? 😉
What traditions do you observe around this time of year? Linked to Lent? Or the coming of Spring?
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