Alaaf! Carnival in Maastricht
While more than half of the Netherlands does not celebrate carnaval, the South of the country, namely the provinces of Brabant and Limburg, take a good three days to do so every year. This year’s carnaval in Maastricht was blessed with good weather and people came from many parts of the world to take pictures.
Alaaf! is a carnaval cry from the Cologne (Germany) dialect meaning ‘elf’ (‘eleven’). According to tradition, 11 is the number of fools, probably because it is one less than 12, which is the number of perfection. Cologne’s carnaval usually has bigger crowds and the people in the parade throw tons of sweets onto the crowd. I also noticed that Cologne had more marching bands and much less DJs than in Maastricht.
One of my client’s from Maastricht asked me if I planned to celebrate carnaval this year. I said that I planned to go to Maastricht and take pictures. She asked if Carnaval was celebreated in Québec, Canada where I am from. I explained to her that the Québec Winter Carnaval lasts three weeks and is the biggest outdoor winter carnaval in the world. So I guess that’s a yes. And it’s usually really cold!