[Tilburg, 2017] Carnaval day has always been the best day during my stay in the Netherlands. The parade indulges the act of “see and be seen”, the term that most Parisians would refer to “be, then exist” in cafés. Yet, the Dutch operationalize this idea in a somewhat altered way, while it might not come as a surprise since both societies share completely opposite views towards the ideal way to lead their lives. Dutch as being modest and practical, whereas such adjectives are irrelevant to depict Parisians’ mode-de-vie. .
(I am refraining myself from comparing the Dutch to the Parisians, even though, it might simply fall into some worldly known preconceived notions to Parisians).
The Dutch also have a deep rooted cultural value that is read “Doe maar gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg.” or translated as “just act normal, that’s already crazy enough.” They, as far as I know, are those who tend to keep everything else on the down-low, but, obviously not during the carnaval parade. This event, that is only celebrated in the southern part of the Netherlands, was initially a religious celebration, but as the Dutch becoming less and less identifying themselves to any particular religious identity, this festivity saw a mere shift from its origin. It is now seen as a sort of an annual tradition where people party all day and night long for at least 4 days. You read that right, 4 days in a row. Among any other parades I have participated in, the Dutch parade is different. It allows the audience to take part in the performance, they are not passive audience, instead, they are the performer themselves, and hand in hand with the parade actors are responsible to build an ambiance full of happiness, a festive world, a please-today-I’m-a-cow-and-you-gotta-deal-with-that day. The day where you take the train and see carrot sit next to you, where supermarket is full of living animals buying stuffs, where frogs are riding bike, etc. As a researcher, I found the carnaval day and the parade serve as ‘a field’ where socio-cultural practice is being produced, and it’s always exciting to witness how a social concept eventually works in a real-world situation. #laventuregrams