Carnaval in the South of the Netherlands

Oeteldonk, Maastricht, or Lampegat? Alaaf or Salaai?

Salaai! Welcome to Lampegat! Every year during Carnaval, Eindhoven changes its name to Lampegat, the hamlet of the lamps. Festivities take place all over the Southern part of the Netherlands, but with differences between cities and regions. In Eindhoven it started as a catholic tradition to kick of the period of Lent, six weeks before Easter. It puts hierarchy in society upside down: everyone can dress up to assume any role, be it the major, fairy queen, a musketeer, rock star, football hero, whatever. To internationals, Carnaval often is a culture shock. The smartest city suddenly becomes “de gekste”, the craziest, the wildest. As an ex-stadsprins, Joep Verheijen had the experience of leading the town into threes days full of cultural events, a parade, but maybe most of all the vibrant nights in the many pubs and out in the street. Parag Gupta, of indian ethnicity but born and raised in the U.S., believed that he got into some kind of New Orleans Mardi Grass when he experienced Carnaval. Geisa Barra Cordeiro knows Carnaval in her home country Brazil, but she now lives in Den Bosch which hosts a very traditional Brabant-style Carnaval.

On Radio 4 Brainport, Jean-Paul Linnartz kicks off a cross-cultural Vodcast. Many thanks to Olaf Koenen en Mike Weerts for their support from Studio 040, and to Parktheater, Eindhoven. Recorded January 26, 2024.

Also, from our Radio 4 Brainport, archives the stories by Limi Kalpurachal (from Austria) and Peter Simons (from the deep south of the country) to dive into the roots of Carnaval.

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