Apparently, I live in Lampegat now. At least that’s what I’m told. During the wonderful few days before Lent, people in Southern Holland celebrate Carnaval. Most of the people to the North are protestant and most of the people to the South are Catholic. Carnaval is Catholic celebration very similar to Mardi gras. I’ve never been to New Orleans, but I hear it’s pretty wild. Well, this is too!
All the towns during Carnaval take on different names. Eindhoven becomes Lampegat. This means Light Bulb Hole and references the history of the light bulb here in Lampegat. I decided I needed to fully embrace this tradition and find out all that it is about.
Well, just stepping out the door and going to the market in the preceding days I knew that costumes were a must. Ok, not a must but I knew I was going to fully participate. I headed to Stiphout to a fabric store that had thousands of costumes for sale and plenty of accessories to add to anything.
Costumes on, we headed to the Centrum to see the parade. The parade began at 13:11pm. 11 is the crazy number so that’s when things begin and end during Carnaval. The most endearing part of the parade was the fact that you could tell the floats were homemade or I guess not mass produced. The themes were a mystery to me but the looks on the adorable Dutch children’s faces let me know that these were beloved characters to them. With music blaring and people singing all the words (in Dutch) my friends and I decided to join in and make up our own words. Yes, the beer had already begun to flow. Vendors were set up all over selling anything from waffles, beer, meats, fruits, to carnival attire.
After watching the parade for a while we decided to head further into the Centrum and participate in the Pub Crawl. Huge tents were set up along the Centrum. Bars had their flaps closed to keep party revelers into their area the longest. We headed to the middle where the largest tent was, hoping for the most room and a little warmth. A merry band was playing all the latest hits (Dutch Style or Oompa Loompa Style). But that was great because by this time, beer in hand, we were fully into being a citizen of Lampegat.
After a while we decided to head to Stratumseind. This is the area where our kids hang out. On the way, I pointed out this little bar I’d wanted to go into. It’s called The Little One Bar. It has such an adorable little door. We decided to go in for a drink. We bellied up to the bar, met the owner and fell in love with this little bar. I asked how old the bar was because it looked older. Only 62 years old. Hmm, that made sense. I had forgotten that most of Lampegat had been destroyed during the war.
After a crazy moment with a person dressed as a shower, we headed for The Tipsy Duck. This fun little bar felt like everyone from the streets all came in at the same time. It was crushing room only. Squeezing through was difficult.
We had a ton of fun there as well but we were all ready for the partying to be done. I don’t know how these people can go on and on into the night. Back home by 6pm with my jammies on, I was so happy I had survived my first Carnaval experience. Definitely going to do that again! Just not today! This party goes on till Wednesday when Lent begins. I’m thinking I may give up beer for LentJ