Thursday, March 10, 2011

Alaaf til you drop! Part II

I hope these pictures give you an idea of how much fun it is celebrating Carnaval in Maastricht. Maastricht turns into one huge party for five days with bright lights, elaborate costumes, music, and people partying in the streets all over the city center. The costumes alone are incredible. The amount of time, effort, creativity, and money that goes into these outfits is impressive. My friends and I quickly realized that we were underdressed, but we're already thinking of ideas for the next one!

After spending Friday and Saturday in Oirschot with Jaap and his Redt Band, we came to Maastricht on Sunday for a different scene. I heard from many people that Sunday is the best day of Carnaval and it is the first official day of the holiday in Maastricht. On Sunday the Mooswief (that's dialect) is raised up in the middle of the Vrijtof and the parade officially begins. They bring her down on Tuesday at midnight for the official close of Carnaval. I went with my friends Pete and Jacob to watch her descend on Fat Tuesday. We were a little sad. (sniff sniff).
Here is a picture of one Jacob's favorite souvenirs from Carnaval. Who says you can't turn a tambourine into a beer tray?
Pete & Jacob showing off their freaky colored contacts
This is how some small children experience Carnaval. Their parents build them a huge contraption (typically in the shape of a castle or pirate ship) and sit it on top of a wagon. This way they are 'protected' from the crowds of drunk people in the streets. These are the die hards. If it was me, I think I would prefer to get a babysitter. Not sure if three year old really cares about being covered head to toe in pink feathers and being stuck in a crowd full of drunk people. 
Even crocodiles and parrots enjoy frites!
Someone told me that Monday and Tuesday is when all the drum corp groups come out and perform. This was my favorite group of the day. They're called Bateria Volle Petaj. We stopped and listened/danced to them for about a half hour. I love the contrast between the goth looking costumes and their energetic sound. 
Once t' Mooswief is lowered to the ground at midnight on Tuesday, Carnaval is officially over. :( The bars start to close, crowds of people start making their way home, and Maastricht turns back into a pumpkin. Here is a clip of a 'funeral march' we saw on our way home. Everyone is sad to see it end, but there's always next year! 

I have a new respect for Maastricht. People here really know how to live life. I see this in every day things like the city's café culture, friendly attitude, love of fashion and food, and the way they enjoy a good slice of vlaai without guilt. But Carnaval is making me see more and more how this city is very unique from the rest of the Netherlands. I'm happy we live here and I'm looking forward to making Carnaval one of my new traditions. Alaaf!


  1. Hi, Elena! I've never been in Maastricht in the Carnival. Must go for sure! I hope next year!.
    Very nice reportage about it!

    I will put it in destak in my blog!

    Thank you for sharing this with us!


  2. Thank you! And thanks for your shout out on your blog! Carnaval has definitely a unique experience. I hope you get to experience for yourself sometime!