While British families are stocking up on flour, milk and eggs in preparation for national Pancake Day on Tuesday 13 February, parts of the Netherlands are starting their 5-day debauchery called Carnaval today. Although these two events may seem worlds apart, they are actually very closely related.
Carnival frenzy in the south of the Netherlands
When you think of carnival, the first image that comes to mind will probably be bikini-clad dancers shaking their hips to percussive music. This might be appropriate in an exotic country such as Brazil, but would lead to pneumonia if copied in the Netherlands. Carnival, or ‘carnaval’ in Dutch, is typically celebrated in the southern provinces below the three main rivers (the Maas (Meuse), Waal and the Rijn (Rhine)). In the past, the northern parts of the country were predominantly Protestant, while the southern provinces were Catholic. Since carnival is linked to Catholicism (more about this…
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