Every nation has its peculiarities, its strange habits or funny cultural aspects… the Dutch, or better, the people of the southern part of The Netherlands have Carnaval.
The atmosphere, the music, the people, the rules, the habits, everything is completely different for five days. Offices and businesses you will find empty or at least back one half. You may come across people you thought of as serious, introvert, distinguished and silent, to be singing loud, calling you friend, swaying from left to right holding a beer in each hand, dressed like a kangaroo, as if they were doing this every day. These five days you really can let it all go, have fun with everybody, forget the rules (but still be respectful), and take of your ‘straight jacket’. This is the time to release stress and to dance (or rather sway) from afternoon till late at night. You can look like someone or something you have always wanted to look like. Or even more funny, it doesn’t have to look like anything at all.
The Brabanders and Limburgers like to share their fun with you. It is a party for everyone! Therefor here some tips and do’s and don’ts to make sure you have a great Carnaval. On Wednesday the sixth of March, everything is back to normal. Streets are swiped clean, dresses are cleaned and stored till next year, your colleague is just his usual self again: serious and quiet.
– Anything goes, be yourself, relax.
– You can wear anything, why not showing your own national dress, buy a wig or a funny dress at the second-hand store (changing sex is very common at Carnaval too, ladies are male police officers and guys look like their aunts in flowery dresses for example). Mostly people dress very colourful and have decorated themselves with a lot of make-up. Look at ‘what to wear’ for ideas.
– Don’t focus on the texts of music too much, mainly it is about celebrating Carnaval. Just sing la-la-la-la-la-laaa and you will be seen as a connoisseur.
Where to go?
– Parade Saturday afternoon
– The tent at the Markt
– The tent at Stadhuisplein
– The Pullman hotel
Of course there are many more festivities, ask around to find out where your neighbours, friends and colleagues are going. For example Family Carnaval at Blixembosch or Children’s Carnaval in Meerhoven.
– Just say hi, talk to strangers, talk a bit of nonsense. Humor is a must!
– Remember where your bike is and don’t lose your key.
– Just visit different places, if you like it, stay, if you don’t, look for another party.
– Take pictures (your family back home won’t believe their eyes: “are this the serious Dutch people?”
– Drink a lot of water in between
– Celebrate Carnaval for more days
– Take care of your stuff, bring an old coat as you may not find a cloak room. (Or you may even not find back your coat).
– Take care of each other
– Join the polonaise (The line of people, which suddenly is there without a reason. Put one hand on the shoulder of the person in front of you, wave with the other.)
– Have fun.
– Get home safe.
– Although the atmosphere is loose and anything goes, women (and men) don’t like to be touched everywhere.
– Don’t stand on the side (join in, nothing is seen as strange).
– Don’t arrive with an empty stomach. If you don’t have anything against alcohol, (though you can have fun without it) do like the Brabanders do. Eat a greasy meal before you join the party. (A greasy meal in advance prevents drunkenness).
– Don’t get too drunk.
– Don’t wear high heels because you got miles to make and long hours to stand (wear old shoes).
– Don’t complain… forget your troubles for five days.
– Don’t be shy.
Suddenly you can’t read texts and don’t understand the people on the stage anymore, while you were improving on your Dutch. This is because during Carnaval people tend to talk and write in dialect. For example “Drie uurkes vurraf” in Dutch: “Drie uurtjes van te voren” (a small three hours in advance). A nice topic to start a conversation!
‘Alaaf’ is the specific Carnaval greeting.
The common thing to eat during Carnaval is, sad (and not so healthy) but true, French fries, almost daily, while you are partying, or Chinese if you need a bit longer break. At home, people invite each other to eat fried eggs and bacon.
Did you know there are 25 Carnaval associations in Eindhoven alone?
Eindhoven is called Lampegat (lamp village) during Carnaval. The Prince (there is a new Prince of Carnaval selected every year) is the boss of Eindhoven for five days.
Every day has a different theme in Eindhoven like ‘Malle Maandag’ (Mad Monday) and Dolle Dinsdag (Crazy Tuesday) for example.
Officially Carnaval starts at 11-11 every year. It’s origins go back to Roman Catholic traditions. Here you can find more about the history of Carnaval.
Saturday, March 2, 2019
- 12.30 Children’s Carnaval Parade, starts from Effenaar (shorter route)
- Lampegatse Optocht – Carnaval Parade in Eindhoven. This is the route of the main parade:
12.45 h Dommelstraat
13.11 h Stationsplein
13.25 h Vestdijk
13:45 uur Ten Hagestraat
14.05 h Catharinaplein
14.20 h Kerkstraat
14.35 h Wal
14.40 h Bilderdijklaan
14.50 h Geldropseweg
From 13.00 hrs onwards: Festa do Samba (Latin American Carnival) at the Hub Eindhoven
Sunday, March 3, 2019
- Stropdassen (tie) Pub Crawl
The tradition in Lampegat is surely the Stropdassen Pub Crawl. This year, for the 10th year in a row, many thousands of people who celebrate carnaval will travel to Stratumseind to walk this grand-style bar crawl. With an especially bought tie you can roam all the cafes one by one. Will you manage to get the whole tie full.
Monday, March 4, 2019
- Malle Maandag Middag (silly Monday afternoon) in the tent at the Markt
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
- Boerenbrunch en Boerenbruiloft. Farmer’s brunch at D’n Hertog and farmer’s wedding, in the tent at the Markt.
- Elluf over Halluf Elluf Festival (11 minutes past 10.30 festival)
- Salon at Wilhelminaplein
Closure of Carnaval at 23.00 h
Info about this typical local event (in Dutch) you can find here. Enjoy!!
Written by Irene Martens with the help of Daniella van Rooij and Ellen Scheepers.