Vastenavend 2010

25 Jan

Between February 13 and 16, 2010, here in my hometown Bergen op Zoom, in the Netherlands, something called Vastenavend will be in full force. It is the local tradition of carnival, where people pretend to be whoever they want (better stated: to be themselves instead of conforming to rules set by others), and most of all have fun.

Vastenavendkrant 2010

Above you see the upper half of the front page of the “Vastenavendkrant”, a publication used to promote the festivities that will be going on. It is written in a local Dutch dialect (Bergs).

Not that I’m a party animal, but I do like the fact local artists and illustrators contribute to this publication.

When the church still ruled people’s behavior, this festival was one of the only outlets they had to be themselves. Nowadays, in the secular society the Netherlands has become the outlet is mostly poking fun at events in the local news. The jokes are often not very subtle and based on wordplay.

People dress up, but not as elaborate as in the South-East part of the Netherlands. There are parades, but most people enjoy themselves at night in the local pubs, with loud music and lots of beer.

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