This year as well as enjoying Carnaval celebrations at school we went to a parade. Carnaval is not really celebrated in the area we live in, as it’s more prevalent in the south of The Netherlands where it’s more Catholic. Because it is a celebration of the last weekend before Lent starts.

The children loved dressing up, and getting sweets from the parade. Fortunately we didn’t get too many! We also got some small pots of butter – to rub on our heads! Watching all the floats and bands and groups going past was fun, especially as it was dry and sunny. Though we didn’t quite understand all the slogans on them. My Mum (who was visiting) was very impressed that I was recognised by a couple of people in the parade. A number of the floats had lots of men wearing capes and funny hats, which seem to be the traditional costume to wear for Carnaval. As part of the celebrations the “key to the city” is handed over to the carnaval king, or prince, and the place is renamed. So towns that celebrate Carnaval have Carnaval names (these are the same every year) for this period. And the parties carry on for the whole weekend.

Even at school there was a carnaval prince and princess chosen from the top class, who started the day by being given the key to the school, and reading out the rules for the day. These were to be nice to the teachers, and everyone else; that you didn’t need to learn anything that day; and to enjoy yourself. And so we had a day of games. Mum and I stayed to help out with starry girl’s class, which was great fun.

And as our British celebration for the start of Lent, we’re looking forward to eating pancakes tomorrow.

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