Carnival in Lanaken and Valkenburg

I want to share with you a great experience I had in the last days in Holland and Belgium – the Carnival. In Holland, Carnival is a holiday mainly celebrated in the south of the country in the the provinces Limburg and Noord-Brabant. The inhabitants take the Carnival celebrations very seriously – they prepare a lot and make it very well organised – they dance, sing and drink, wearing colorful outfits.

Every year the Carnival has its Prince – the Prince of Carnival, who for three days, together with his subjects celebrates the temporary establishment of their Kingdom of Fools. Merrymakers make their way from pub to pub and greet the Prince Carnival with three cheers of “Alaaf”.

In Belgium the festival goes in a very similar manner like in the Netherlands – I had the chance to enjoy the fun at a local street party in Lanaken. Every year people all over France and Belgium celebrate Carnival by dressing up in vibrant costumes, striking hats and masks in a tradition that goes back centuries.

The festival has its origins in the Christian custom of giving up something for Lent. Also known as Mardi Gras, the annual event is staged to mark the beginning of a 40-day period of abstinence. And although the most famous parades are the ones staged in New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro, the people of Belgium are also dab hands at creating a spectacle for the yearly celebration.

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