History (and more) of Carnaval

Have you noticed a lot of funny clothes in the shops? A big event is coming up! Every year, right after the New Year’s holiday and 7 weeks before Easter, a large part of Holland celebrates Carnaval (Carnival).

This event has been around since prehistoric times. The Christians of mediaeval Holland borrowed Carnaval from the Egyptians as the last chance to eat, drink and party until the Great Lent, or the Great Fast. During that fasting period, Christians have some food restrictions, and even the name “Carnaval” has a connection to “carne” (means “meat” in Spanish).
The oldest-known Dutch Carnaval dates from 1385, in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. It is depicted in several paintings by 15th-century painter Jheronimus Bosch. During the three days of the Carnaval, ‘s-Hertogenbosch changes its name to “Oeteldonk”, meaning “Frog Hill”. Altering the name of cities is the tradition in and around North Brabant. For example, Eindhoven becomes “Lampegat” (lamp town), Helmond becomes “Kattegat” (cat town) and Breda becomes “Kielegat” (referring to a carnaval costume).
During the Reformation in the seventeenth century, the northern provinces turned Protestant, but the south part remained Catholic. The Protestant part of the Netherlands stopped celebrating Carnaval because they saw it as a Roman Superstition. There is a view that some of the Catholic traditions in the southern part of the country disappeared over time because of Protestant influences.Nowadays, the main Carnaval provinces are Limburg and the south part of North-Brabant next to the Belgian border. Maastricht is usually regarded as the top Carnaval town.
The modern Carnaval dates from after World War II, when the Southern Provinces restored the tradition and organized Carnival Committees. The traditions vary from town to town, but there are some common characteristics such as a “Prins” (Prince) plus his “Raad van Elf” (council of 11), a “Boerenbruiloft” (farmer’s wedding), and “haring happen” (eating of herring) on Ash Wednesday. The “Prins Carnaval” or “Prince of Fools” is always a person elected by a Carnaval Committee as the spokesperson and acts as the (fool) ruler of the town during the Carnaval period. “Haring happen” on Ash Wednesday originated in the past when people were not allowed to eat meat because of Lent.
Carnaval in “Lampegat”  is usually celebrated widely and the heart of the activity is the tent on the market place.
The Carnaval Program 2013
Saturday, February 9Saturday it the craziest day! This is a great day to visit Eindhoven. This fun parade of colorful floats and, of course, the Prince travel through the entire city. Also, you can find a lot of performances in the tent on the ‘Markt’ (the central square of a city). Please note that Carnaval Saturday is generally the busiest day in Eindhoven. The city will be overcrowded with people in colorful costumes. However, without any doubt, it is the most fun day!The procession takes place under the guidance of  the “Stadsprins” (City Prince). It starts at the Fuutlaan at 12:41 hrs and takes about 1.5 hours. Route of “Lampegatse” Procession 2013 (subject to change)• Fuutlaan• Dommelstraat• Vestdijk• Oude Stadsgracht• City Hall (Gemeentehuis)• Wal    • Bilderdijklaan• Geldropseweg
You can find the map here: http://lampegatseoptocht.nl/optocht-2013-2/uitslag-loopgroepen/ During the procession, the Vestdijk becomes “Carnaval Boulevard” and the Bilderdijklaan and the Geldropseweg area will be the center of activities and fun with a special atmosphere.
Sunday, February 10This day is not so busy since Carnaval parades take place in other towns. However, there are still plenty of things to do in Eindhoven. The election of Marquis and Marquise of Carnaval is quite enjoyable and takes place on the ‘Markt’ from 14:00 hrs to 17:00 hrs, along with many other performances!http://www.federatie-eindhovens-carnaval.nl/agenda/zondag.htm
Monday, February 11This day is even more quiet, but there is still much to do and a lot of artists support the festive atmosphere. Lot of games and children’s activities are planned, which you can find on the “Strijpse Kreiefist” (crow’s party) place on the St-Trudoplein.http://www.federatie-eindhovens-carnaval.nl/agenda/maandag.htm
Tuesday, February 12This is the last day of Carnaval 2013 and from afternoon till evening there will be lots of games and shows in the city center. At midnight, after the evening party, Carnaval will be closed until next year. Do you like festivals? Can you sing? Do you like to dance and wear a colorful outfit? Then you are more than welcome to celebrate Carnaval! Just be sure to wear a perfect Carnaval costume!
NadyaSource:www.wikipedia.orgwww.nlplanet.com http://www.federatie-eindhovens-carnaval.nl

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