We couldn't have planned our arrival to the Netherlands any better. Here less than a month, and we find ourselves participating in one of the craziest parties on the planet, CARNAVAL in the NETHERLANDS! I know what you're thinking. Carnaval in the Netherlands? I thought the same way. We usually picture the beads of Mardi Gras in New Orleans or the extravagant outfits of Carnaval in Rio. But after witnessing 5 straight days of celebrations, my perception sure has changed. The Dutch can party too.
Having experienced Mardi Gras in New Orleans years ago, I will say there were many similarities: parades, floats, costumes, bands, and of course plenty of beer. But I got the sense that Carnaval in the Netherlands was a bit more family and community focused. It was neat watching families all weekend (and through Tuesday) gather in the town center, dressed together like pirates and clowns, celebrating as if they didn't have a care in the world. And last night in Oss, during the closing ceremonies, Vicki and I joined a parade of townspeople through the square. For a few brief moment, we didn't feel like outsiders at all, we were members of a community. We followed the procession to a parking lot where a brass band was playing "My Way" by Frank Sinatra. Then the Carnaval Prince set the paper mache animal ablaze, symbolizing the end of Carnaval and the beginning of Lent.
Vicki took so many amazing pictures it was difficult to post all of them. So, I had a thought; let me try to capture the essence of Carnaval in the Netherlands in just 11 pictures. Given the mystique behind the number 11 in Carnaval Culture I thought that was a good "round" number. It is said, that 11 is the "fool's number," coming between the spiritual number 12 and the perfect number 13. There is also something about a connection between the word elf and 11. Could explain all the elf and gnome costumes we saw. It was also interesting how most of the big events started at 11 past the hour.
May I present, the craziness of Carnaval, in only 11 pictures. Enjoy.
Carnaval Oss In Eleven Pictures
Carnaval Den Bosch in Eleven Pictures
Berghem Light Parade in Eleven Pictures
|Can You Spot Bono, Gene Simmons, Slash and Steven Tyler in these pics? No for real, can you?|
Okay, I cheated. There was no way I could depict days worth of amazing sights and fun in only 11 pictures. Forgive me? We've got tons of video footage as well. I'm going to do my best to make a compilation and post it soon.
Meanwhile, here's a short video of the burning of the Ox. Anyone catch the Sinatra being played? LOVED IT!
How was your Carnaval experience?