Carnaval, you might know it to be a Dutch celebration with copious amounts of beer, wine and spirits while dressed up like a fireman, a farmer or even an astronaut (at least, in the version in Brabant), but this ancient tradition once started very different.
The origin of this party is not one hundred percent clear but the consensus is that it started in Italy as Carnem Levare (which translate to take away the meat). This was first found in a document from 965 while the first mention of Carnaval was from 1673.
Other words to describe this party is Vasteloavend (vastenavond) in Belgian/Dutch Limburg and the German Rijnland and Fasnacht in the south of Germany.
This party is officially from Sunday through Tuesday but in practice you can see people celebrating the ‘Carnaval season’ starting on the 11th of November at 11.11. This is because the number 11 has been regarded historically as the ‘fools number’.
Most cities will change their names during Carnaval. Like Den Bosch becoming Oeteldonk, Breda becoming Kielegat, Eindhoven becoming Lampengat and Tilburg becoming Kruikenstad. Look at a comprehensive list of alternative Carnavalsnames right here.
These cities will also have a parade (or optocht) running through the city (In Kielegat this will be at Monday so that may be a good thing to keep in mind when coming over.) These giant floats will drive from point a to point b loudly playing music while groups of people will dance in between them. Designing these things will mostly be done with 3D modelling software like stated in our previous article.
Even though carnaval has been a catholic party which lasted 3 days, it grew out to be so much more. So grab your kiel, most fancy attire or just a painted on smile and go have some beers in the polonaise. Just remember, ‘Drink met mate(n)’