Carnaval in Tilburg

Tilburg Travel Blog

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The Sunday afternoon Carnival Parade (Tilburg, The Netherlands)

Carnival is originally a Catholic festivity that is celebrated three days prior to Ash Wednesday. According to tradition the festivities last from a Sunday to a Tuesday night. At midnight on Tuesday, the fasting begins and lasts for forty days, until Easter.

It’s unknown where the word Carnival originates from. It is clear that it has been an eating festivity for many centuries, because it was the last opportunity people had to splurge until the fasting began. 

On Fat Tuesday (before the fasting began) all the food that contained fat in a house would be eaten, otherwise it would spoil. The fasting became a tradition to commemorate the forty days Jesus fasted in the dessert according to the New Testament, and to reflect the Christian values.

It’s likely Carnival has been around longer than the Christian tradition.

The Sunday afternoon Carnival Parade (Tilburg, The Netherlands)
The church probably thought it was easier to turn the pagan Carnival in a Catholic tradition than to banish it. This is also the case with other pre-Christian festivities such as Christmas, which was actually a pagan midwinter feast.   

The Romans celebrated the feast of Saturnalies, which has a lot of characteristics of today’s Carnival, such as excessive eating and drinking, disguises and a parade through the streets.

Anthropologically seen, Carnival is a reversal ritual, where social roles are reversed and values on accepted behaviour are postponed. 

Today, the Christian origins of Carnival have been forgotten and nobody fasts anymore. Carnival has become a festivity for everybody to enjoy, but it is mainly found in the south of The Netherlands.

Carnival in Tilburg usually starts on Saturday night, although many ‘fans’ start celebrations on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. On Sunday afternoon there’s always a nice Carnival parade through the centre of town, starting at one o’clock in the afternoon. My friends and I are always around on Sunday afternoon, although we spend more time inside (In a place called ‘Het Vaticaan’) then actually watching the parade. ;)

If anyone would like to join up: you’re more than welcome! Just send me a message to let me know.

Gijsje says:
There are things I do miss about home...
Posted on: May 17, 2011
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Tilburg Sights & Attractions review
Carnival customs
Carnival is mainly celebrated in the south of The Netherlands (below the main rivers) and has a couple of customs: - Everybody wears some sort of a … read entire review
Tilburg
photo by: dicksiem