The eleventh day of the eleventh month marks the start of the carnival season. On this day, Prince Carnival and his entourage also known as the council of eleven, will be announced, after which they will open the Carnival season. November 11th is a special date, this is related to the number eleven. In folk numerology, 11 is considered a crazy number.
In the Netherlands, the official start of the carnival season is marked by the 11th of November. The key date for the carnival festivities is actually the following year, during the three days leading up to Ash Wednesday. These three days are known as “Carnival” or “Vastenavond,” which translates to “Farewell to Meat” in Dutch.
Carnival is celebrated in various regions of the Netherlands, with some of the most famous celebrations taking place in the southern provinces, especially in Limburg and North Brabant. The exact dates of Carnival vary each year as it is tied to the Christian liturgical calendar, but it typically falls in either February or March.
During Carnival, cities and towns come alive with colorful parades, elaborate costumes, music, dancing, and a general atmosphere of merriment. Participants often wear vibrant costumes, masks, and engage in satire and humor. Traditional elements of the celebration include the election of a Carnival Prince and Princess, as well as the symbolic raising of the Carnival flag.
It’s a time when normal social conventions are turned upside down, and people revel in the joyous and carefree spirit of Carnival before the solemn period of Lent begins. The celebrations attract both locals and visitors who come to experience the unique and lively Dutch Carnival traditions.