Why I Do Not like Carnival by Mariëlle van Ballegooijen
I live ‘under the rivers’ (as a literal translation from Dutch) so people usually assume that I do like Carnival. I don’t. Maybe I should have started by stating that I don’t like beer or Dutch music, which are the main ingredients for Carnival. Or maybe I should have mentioned that I live too far north in the south of the Netherlands and was not raised in a Catholic part of Noord-Brabant, so I did not grow up with the tradition of celebrating Carnival. All these factors combined makes it hard for me to truly experience Carnival as it is intended. Nonetheless, after hearing amazing stories from others and even people from ‘above the rivers’ I have decided to give it a chance two years in a row.
Every time I come to the same conclusion. (Brabants) Carnival is nothing other than a good excuse to drink endlessly for a few days straight with bad music to accompany the drinking. Granted, some Carnival songs are appeasing, but most can be considered less than successful. Furthermore, the bar I went to got crowded really quickly with people who are too drunk to even stand, or notice other people in their way. Everything combined, the drinking, the music, the crowdedness; I can tolerate for at most an hour and then I say Alaaf to yet another year of Carnival!
Why I Love Carnival by Pauline van de Voorde
The question why I love Carnival is simple. It is a 5-day party where you can dress-up as whatever you want. Either you hate it or you love it. I’m with the group of people who love it. I have been celebrating Carnival from the age of four I believe. As soon as I could walk, my parents dragged me to carnaval, so I’m brought up with the five days of fun. When you are little, you get to dress-up as princesses and pirates every year, which for me was a big plus. I picked out my outfit weeks before and looked out for it before it has even started.
As I grew older the fascination with Carnival didn’t go away. To be honest I love it even more now I’m older. You still can dress up but now you can party with all your friends for five days straight. I celebrate Carnival at least a couple of days in my hometown, Hulst (Zeeland), which is the best. You see all your old friends again and get to celebrate with the whole town young and old together. I mean what’s not to love? Aside from the occasional hangover, there’s nothing to hate about it.
Carnival through a Foreigner’s Eyes by Lauri Tarkiainen
Since I am from Finland and have not spent a spring in Tilburg before, this Carnival was very first of mine. I was very curious to see the Carnival first hand, since the opinion of the Carnival appeared to be very polarized among the locals. Carnival in Tilburg seemed to be one of those love-or-hate events, although I think there still are many people in the middle. As a matter of fact, I would position myself, a first-timer with Carnival, in the middle. My Carnival experience consisted of a pre-party with Asset and a couple of evening walks in the city center. I have to admit that I did not dig very deep into the Carnival mood due to some other activities I had during the time, but I did get a proper impression of what Carnival has to offer.
From my point-of-view, the best part of Carnival is the strong presence of it. A clear majority of people I saw in the city were dressed up in their Carnival costumes and many places were decorated properly. I did not like some practical aspects, the main negative aspect being the amount of trash on streets which pretty much destroyed my shoes and the tire of my bike (a rookie mistake, I know). In addition, I am not that much of a fan of too crowded places, since that makes practical things such as moving around and getting drinks slower, although in some spots you could get drinks very quickly. Carnival music is indeed terrible, but still I found myself listening to it. What a creature have I become.
If I have the chance to celebrate Carnival again, I would perhaps include more planning if I wanted to see the major activities, and perhaps do most of the drinking in a smaller village with more space and less hassle, which is more suitable for my personal preferences. I can understand that for many people the love-or-hate distinction is based on the very concept of Carnival itself, but my view is more linked to how to celebrate it. I do see potential to have great Carnival atmosphere, but I did not fully achieve that this time. Maybe next time!