Will you come to our party?

when: 11th of November.
time: 11:11 hrs
where: Vrijthof
why: the opening of Carnival 2010.
dresscode: anything goes as long as you are dressed up

I guess a lot of you are a bit confused with this date as being the start of carnival. Isn’t Carnival that week of madness around Februari? Well first of all, in Limburg Carnival is known as Vasteloavend and I will therefore use this term throughout the rest of this article. Vasteloavend officially starts three days prior to the catholic special day of ‘lent’. A lot of people here in Maastricht stick to these three days. However, most of the people who celebrate it already start at Friday or Saturday, including me.

Ok I’m kind of on a sidetrack now, because I haven’t explained why Vasteloavend starts the 11th of November. Well the number 11 is the number for the ‘fools’ and ‘crazy people’. Back in the days, people had severely though lives. In order to keep the normal people in check, people were allowed to act like crazy people during Vasteloavend, before they had to start fasting for 40 days during Lent. Because 11 is the number which represents Vasteloavend it was kind of easy to choose the 11th of November as the official start. There are several more explanations but these are really not interesting enough to mention. If you want to know them just visit Wikipedia.

From all over the Southern parts of the Netherlands people will travel to Maastricht to celebrate the opening of Vasteloavend. Thousands of dressed up people will wonder through Maastricht from the break of dawn until late in the evening. Most songs will be played in the language people originally speak in Limburg (plat), even though a lot of them can’t understand a word of it. You therefore do not have to feel left outside when you have got no clue as to where the song is about. Just sing along.  Here’s an example of a typical song you will hear being played over and over again.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ym7u-9kCcQ[/youtube]

another example is ‘Ziesjoem’

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IW3KTQH3S4M[/youtube]

Most of the songs don’t even cover original topics, because they usually involve drinking beer and finding true love. However, some of them are kind are kind of original and are based on old school hits. Just search for ‘Fabrizio’ on Youtube.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyceXOdj3p0&feature=related[/youtube]

During Vasteloavend Maastricht breaths hospitality. People are friendly and warm, although the weather is very sucky most of the time. People seem to forget about that and just want to have fun (guess the alcohol helps a bit in that one). So just join me on the Vrijthof and have a great time, Limburg style. Hope to see you there.

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