It’s Carnaval in Kruikenstad!

Tomorrow Tilburg will transform into ‘Kruikenstad’. This means it is the time of Carnaval again. You might already have seen people dressed up in the city during the past weeks and some parts of the city are already decorated in the orange-green colours of Kruikenstad. Where for locals this festival is part of a long tradition, for internationals this might be a bit of a weird event. In this article we are going to explain a bit about the traditions and activities of carnaval, so you can survive the upcoming days.

For most people carnaval starts this Friday, but for some enthusiasts it already has started in November. On the 11th of November, 11-11 the double fools number, the prince of the city or village for that season will be announced. This is the person, with his 11 body-council are in charge of making carnaval as much fun as it can be. During carnaval they even (unofficially) take over the power of the major. These 11 people represent carnaval from the 11th of November till the end on the Tuesday of Carnaval.

That the civilians, the prince and his council, are taking over the power from the major for a few days is one of the examples where things are turned around during carnaval. During the upcoming 5 days a lot of things will be different than they are in normal life. One of the examples of daily things which are different are the city names. As already mentoined Tilburg will be ‘Kruikenstad’, but also all other cities and villages in Brabant will have a name change during Carnaval, for example Eindhoven will be ‘Lampengat’ and Den Bosch will be ‘Oeteldonk’.  Dressing up is also a part of being in a turned around world, people can be someone / something else than they are during their daily life. These are just a few of the most visible examples, in the upcoming days you might see more of them!

The Polonaise

During carnaval there are a lot of activities going on in the city. In every bar and on the streets in the city center there is a big party going on. In the bars you can find a lot of carnaval music, it doesn’t matter if you can sing along or not. On the streets this kind of music will also be played, but if you are lucky you might also find some live music played by small a orchestra called ‘dweilorkest’. It doesn’t matter where you go, everywhere you will see people dressed up and drinking a lot of alcohol. This is for a lot of people what carnaval is about nowadays, however this is not the main part of the traditional carnaval.

If you want to see more of the traditional carnaval you can go to the Heuvel, here the prince and his council will organise some carnaval activities. These activities are things such as the official opening of Carnaval, a party with all the carnaval associations (there are a lot of them!) and the closing ceremony. On Sunday afternoon there will be a parade with individuals, groups and beautiful floats. This is one of the biggest carnaval events in the city and something you really shouldn’t miss!

To help you survive carnaval we have made a small list of things you should do in the upcoming days!

  1. Dress up! If we say dress up, we mean you actually have to dress up. A wig and some colorful Accessories won’t do it. Unless you’re wearing a scarf of Kruikenstad (remember, that’s Carnaval language for Tilburg). Then it’s okay, wear it with pride! So be creative and put some effort in it, group costumes are always a success!
  2. Be happy! Carnaval is about having fun and forgetting a bit about the stressful daily life. During these 5 days you can be crazy, Wednesday you have to be serious again..
  3. Drink Schrobbelèr! Carnaval is the festival of drinking beer, and a lot! But in Tilburg we have our own very popular drink during carnaval, Schrobbelèr! This Jagermeister like drink keeps you warm and healthy so you will survive 5 days of carnaval.
  4. Participate in the Polonaise! During carnaval there is one ‘dance’ in which everyone is participating, the Polonaise. It is very easy to join in this, when people are walking behind each other, hands on the shoulders of the person before him/her, there is a polonaise going on. If you want to join, just walk to it and people will let you in.
  5. Go see ‘Dn Opstoet’! The parade on Sunday in Tilburg is one of the highlights of Carnaval. This parade of about 2 hours consists a lot of beautiful (hand made) floats and is worth seeing. Also on the route of the parade are a lot of authentic carnaval parties going on.
  6. Have no hangover! Carnaval is just 5 days, so having a hangover is a waste of time. Make sure you sleep a bit longer in the morning, have a good breakfast with some eggs and bacon and then start drinking beer again!

With the help of these guidelines you will survive carnaval! You also should let it overcome a bit. Everywhere in Brabant and Limburg will be carnaval parties, so you can also go to another city to see how they celebrate it there. Staying in Tilburg is of course also perfect. At Carpe Noctem we will host a carnaval party at Friday and Saturday, which is open for every student.


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