Carnaval vs. Vasteloavend

It’s carnival again in the Netherlands, and if you missed this you probably haven’t opened your social media in the last few months. We were thrown to death with new carnival songs, one even worse than the other. With as the most viral going song ‘Potentie’ which, I must admit, actually sounds very good. The carnival music has been on repeat in the Kweekkamer for 2 weeks now and since there are 2 real Limbo’s on the board there was a discussion with the question ‘Which province is best to celebrate carnival? Limburg or Brabant? Now I have to admit (as a fake Limburg citizen) that I have very little knowledge of carnival in Brabant, which is why the playlist ‘Carnival in Limburg’ was mainly on repeat.

Yet, I looked for the biggest differences between Brabant and Limburg in celebrating carnival. They turn out to be quite big. In Limburg carnival is called Vasteloavend instead of just carnival. If people don’t know where carnival originates from, it’s originally a Christian feast that was held before the lent term of 40 days. Now, I don’t have the idea that people are still celebrating carnival for this reason today, and that it’s mainly about drinking beer as much and as quickly as possible with the excuse: carnival.

As an experienced carnival celebrator in Limburg I have noticed that the clothing style is also very different from that in Brabant. There is not much logic in the outfits. It’s more like a ‘Get what you can’ and wear it situation. The more weird and eccentric, the better. This in contrast to the brabo’s who are a bit more modest and already find a coloured scarf good enough. Of course you still have the abundance of students in the big cities of which 99% are wearing onesies that they picked up at the Primark around the corner. Not really the best impression you get from carnival in general.

The two provinces can also ridicule each other in many ways. How often someone from Brabant says that Limburg doesn’t belong to the Netherlands and that they can join Belgium because they don’t understand the language is infinite. Well, to be honest, I have to say that they are right, and that half of the music does not indeed resemble Dutch, and that you have to make some effort to understand what they are actually singing about. With the pride of the Limburg carnival music ‘Fabrizio’ who, if you try really hard, can be understood ‘reasonably’. Is then in contrast the pride of carnival in Brabant ‘Snollekebollekes’ or maybe ‘Kafke’ who lately  shows up everywhere, and performs in almost every local pub there is.