Alaaf! The language of Dutch Carnival
What happens during Carnival?
- Prince Carnival is the boss of the town or village during Carnival. On Saturday, he receives the key to the city or village from the mayor.
- There are parades with floats and often address current themes or are timelessly funny.
- People dress up and go to the city. In some places, it is common to dress as a character from head to toe, while in other places like Den Bosch, you will fit in best with a jacket and scarf in the local Carnival colours.
- Carnival music is played everywhere and people follow each other around in conga lines.
- Tuesday is the last day of Carnival. The day after that is Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of the fasting period.
Dialect and specific Carnival language
|Alaaf||a Carnival greeting used in a lot of places, although in some places saying alaaf is just 'not done'|
|Dweilen||the tour of brass bands along all kinds of pubs|
|Tonpraten||people dressed up as personages talking about topical and often local themes. There are even tonpraten championships (in Brabant: tonproaten)|
|Polonaise||dancing in a congo line|
|Hossen||dancing and jumping with arms slung over each other’s shoulders|
Dutch carnival music
If you want to get in the Carnival spirit and work on your Dutch, listen to these Carnival golden oldies!
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