The Netherlands kicks off its famous Carnival celebrations on Thurday, heralding six days of crazy dancing, parades of lavishly decorated floats and scores of scantily dressed people.
The annual festival will bring a large part of the Netherlands virtually to a stop and most people will not really care about the recession for the moment.
The Dutch saw their economy shrink by 0.7% in the fourth quarter, but most people set aside money for Carnival.
The Dutch Carnival officially begins on Saturday after the mayor hands the symbolic keys of the city to Prince Carnival at City Hall.
But in many cities the carnival celebrations start already on Saturday morning and someplaces even on Thursday.
Brabant, Limburg and Zuid-Gelderland transform during the carnival days into a festive area. Cities such as Den Bosch, Eindhoven, Breda, Hertogenbosch and Maastricht are renamed to Lampegat, Kielegat and Mestreech.
The popular carnival parades of decorated cars in the city’s will happen on Sunday and Monday.
Carnival in the Netherlands is a feast of the south. The provinces ‘Limburg’ and ‘Noord-Brabant’ are the predominantly Catholic provinces of the Netherlands, where most inhabitants celebrate Carnival. Though some people take the Carnival traditions very serious, most people keep it simple and just drink, sing and dance in a colorful outfit.
There are also in several other Dutch provinces celebrations. Such as in Groningen and Friesland. The Carnival celebrations start after the mayor symbolically hands over the key to the city to Carnival Prince. For three days, the Carnival Prince has control of the city and, together with his subjects, celebrates the temporary establishment of their Kingdom of Fools. Celebrants make their way from pub to pub and greet Prince Carnival with three cheers of ‘Alaaf!’.
The origin of the name “Carnival” is unclear as there are several theories. The most commonly known theory states that the name comes from the Italian carne- or carnovale. Yet another theory states that it originates from from Saturnalia, Saturn’s festival, and Lupercalia. In the later Roman period.
Do you like to drink, sing, dance and have a good time? Than you’re suitable to celebrate Carnival in the Netherlands. Make sure you wear a crazy, colorful costume.