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Two other, less likely, explanations that the term would be a contraction of the Latin Carne meat and Paler rule , literally "the time that meat reigns" and the Italian Carnueale or the French Carne Avalis both mean so much as "devour flesh" are given as well.
Easter can fall on 22 March at the earliest and on 25 April at the latest. As a result, the earliest possible Carnival is on 1 February, the latest possible date is 9 March.
Traditionally a Carnvial feast was the last opportunity to eat well before the time of food shortage at the end of the winter during which one was limited to the minimum necessary.
On what nowadays is called vastenavond the days before fasting all the remaining winter stores of lard, butter and meat which were left would be eaten, for it would soon start to rot and decay.
The selected livestock had in fact already been slaughtered in November and the meat would be no longer preservable.
All the food that had survived the winter had to be eaten to assure that everyone was fed enough to survive until the coming spring would provide new food sources.
Several Germanic tribes celebrated the returning of the daylight. A predominant deity was during this jubilee driven around in a noisy procession on a ship on wheels.
Also there are some indications that the effigy of Nerthus  or Freyr was placed on a ship with wheels and accompanied by a procession of people in animal disguise and men in women's clothes.
Tacitus wrote in his Germania :. The elaborate rites involving masked figures in the Swabian - Alemannic carnaval might have had an influence on the different aspects of the feast.
It traditionally represents the time of year when the reign of the cold, grim winter spirits is over and these spirits are being driven out and expelled by the Carnaval rituals.
Also the ritual re-enactment of the Wild Hunt was a cultural phenomenon among many Gallic and Germanic peoples. There is evidence that the ancient Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Bacchanalia may have been absorbed into the Italian carnival.
The pagan carnaval was celebrated throughout Europe. In Russia, for example, this festival is known as Maslenitsa roughly translated: butter feast.
While Christian festivals such as corpus christi were church-sanctioned celebrations, Carnaval was also a manifestation of European folk culture.
In the Christian tradition the fasting is to commemorate the 40 days that Jesus fasted in the desert according to the New Testament and also to reflect on Christian values.
As with many other Christian festivals such as Christmas which was originally a Pagan midwinter festival,   Easter which was a Pagan spring festival,    and Sinterklaas ,      the Christian church has found it easier to turn the pagan Carnaval in a catholic tradition than to eliminate it.
In those two months, several Catholic holidays were seized by the Catholic population as an outlet for their daily frustrations.
In many Christian sermons and texts, the example of a vessel used to explain Christian doctrine: "the nave of the church of baptism", "the ship of Mary ", etc.
The writings show that processions with ship-like carts were held and lavish feasts were celebrated on the eve of lent or the greeting of spring in the early Middle Ages.
The Catholic Church condemned this "devilish debauchery" and "Pagan rituals". As early as the year the council of Nicaea attempted to end these Pagan festivals.
Many synods and councils attempted to set things "right". The statements of Caesarius of Arles — , which protested around CE in his sermons against the Pagan practices, seemed to have formed the building blocks of the Indiculus Superstitionum et Paganiarum small index of superstitious and Pagan practices , which was drafted by the Synod of Leptines in in which the Spurcalibus en Februario was condemned.
Pope Gregory the Great — decided that fasting would start on Ash Wednesday. The whole Carnaval event was set before the fasting, to set a clear division between the Pagan and the Christian custom.
It was also the custom during Carnaval that the ruling class would be mocked using masks and disguises. In the year the synod in Leptines Leptines is located near Binche in Belgium spoke out furiously against the excesses in the month of February.
Noticing that on it was no small penance. Gradually the ecclesiastical authority began to realize that the desired result could not be attained by banning the traditions, which eventually led to a degree of Christianization.
The festivities became part of the liturgy and the liturgical year. This change of course became more clear when at the synod of Benevento in the beginning of lent was definitively established on the day that is called Ash Wednesday by pope Urban II.
The duration of the fasting was already set at 40 days after centuries of discussion preceding the council of Nicaea.
Carnaval, or rather Shrove Tuesday, was officially accepted by Christianity in and was followed by Lent the time of penance and mortification on Ash Wednesday.
The main roles were in the beginning played by the clergy of the minor orders, the sub-deacons. This were clerics who were in many cases illiterate and were also the local main baker or butcher.
However, during the carnaval they became prominent and played the role of crazy bishop or "donkey pope" as part of the role reversal function of the carnaval.
From Den Bosch is according to a document from known that public stage performances, jousting tournaments, games, cockfights and role dressing were organized.
This appears from a letter from the council of Maastricht in The ban was temporarily lifted and people were allowed to play dice during the carnaval.
Several popes in the past were explicitly involved with the shrove Tuesday celebration. They organized synods regarding fasting and shrove Tuesday, participated with carts in the processions, and promulgated special collections.
This was not due to the fact that he was elected on 11 November to be pope, but because he felt that the carnaval didn't last long enough.
Like now the carnaval in the Middle Ages reached the highlight in the three days before the beginning of lent. During this period, the city officially handed over the power to "Prince Carnaval" and the social revolution was complete.
Because of the anonymity offered by the costumes, rank and position were no longer important and one could freely express his opinion and mock anything and anyone.
In particular, the nobility , clergy and the wealthy citizens were mocked and ridiculed. This tradition is still reflected in contemporary parades and at the Brabantian tonproaten and Limburgish buutereednen , the speakers subjects include mocking and ridiculing the local administration.
The catholic church, being the most powerful and influential organisation at the time, had to suffer most during carnaval. All kinds of sacred traditions and rules were ridiculed during the feast.
A donkey would be put on the altar during the ezelsmis donkey's mass after which a civilian dressed as a priest staged a mass.
During all the prayers, the " amen " would be replaced by the donkey imitation "ia, ia, ia". A dance called the polonaise was done during which people did not follow the pastor with the hand on the shoulder, but with the nose at the bottom.
Also celebrated on 28 December is the now forgotten feast of the massacre of the innocents , commemorating the infanticide in Bethlehem.
On this day the children were given the power for one day and turned it against the church. The choirboys put the clergy on a cart full of manure , and then let them pass through the village.
Often this gave the mass the opportunity to pelt the church ministers with shit, a phenomenon in slightly modified version to be found now in the spreading confetti from the carnaval floats.
However, in the church attacked the feast furiously. The theologians in Paris felt that the carnaval was out of control, issued a number of prohibitions and drafted a letter, which included the following:.
The theologians conclude their letter stating that they do not even want to mention the worst things that take place during the carnaval.
The role of the lower clergy, however, gradually got taken over by laymen. That is not to say that therefore there was no longer shrove Tuesday or fools bishops, and donkey popes and donkey bishops.
The laity started to play the roles of the dignitaries they ridiculed. Later this practice developed into real titles and the roles of " Prins " or " Vorst " came into use.
The feasts with jesters were in Flanders and the Netherlands very widespread. Later the "feasts of fools" are taken over by urban carnaval associations, such as the shipping companies and guilds.
The celebrations became more expensive every year, so expensive that even the Prins or Vorst candidate often fled the city to prevent being elected.
Cities even increased their taxes to finance these highly elaborate feasts. Also early as the Late Middle Ages charivaris occurred during the carnaval more than usual.
The oldest-known Dutch carnaval images date from in Den Bosch. They are depicted in several paintings by 15th-century painter Jheronimus Bosch.
In the sixteenth century, the excessive, public and massive carnaval celebration from the Middle Ages came to an end.
The council of Trent — and the reformation caused a complete reverse in attitude towards the carnaval. Protestantism became the dominant religion north of the rivers Meuse and Rhine.
In the areas that cover today the provinces of Limburg and North Brabant the Catholic religion remained dominant.
In the part of the Netherlands that after the reformation became predominantly Protestant, the public shrovetide celebration disappeared from the streets.
The new Protestant clergy found the riotous Catholic carnaval sinful. In the north, the feast quickly eradicated and also in the south the carnaval was restricted.
Shrove Tuesday was interpreted as a " romish " superstition and prohibited to ban it out. This is clear from the fact that a new ban had to be enacted every year.
These games were held in both the 18th and in the 19th century. In Venlo these games were banned in , but in Wijnandsrade this tradition was held till It was only since , the beginning of the French era , that Den Bosch would officially allow celebrating carnaval again.
Also charivaris , which were folk customs that may already existed before , were more often held around the carnaval time.
Like in other European countries, the two main purposes of the charivari in Europe were to facilitate change in the current social structure and to act as a form of censure within the community.
The goal was to enforce social standards and to rid the community of socially unacceptable relationships that threatened the stability of the whole.
By the charivari's the community would punish and correct fellow citizens by public mocking and humiliation for unwanted behavior like adulterous relationships, men who let themselves be deceived by their wives, men who abused their wives, men who were not dominant in the marriage, widows who wished to remarry, women who wish to marry outside the social group like a partner from a neighboring village and other violators of social norms.
The victims were subjected to humiliating processions with noise and music through the village, forced to do embarrassing or hard labor or their possessions and house would be marked, damaged and soiled.
This girl was chosen because of "bad" behavior: often a maid that was sexually used by her master. A large doll to depict the girl was shown on the Sunday of the carnaval after church.
The men sang mocking songs on the town square around the doll. Not just "premarital sexual active" and "adulterous" girls were mocked, also girls could get criticized because of their appearance or language, for turning down suitors, for the extent to which she was kind or kept faithful to her friends.
During the carnaval the men would wear masks and go from pub to pub to perform a play and mocking songs, while the paintings were displayed as an illustration.
This kind of "political charivaris" never questioned the authority of the government itself, but were intended to denounce abuse of power and corruption by the government.
The heyday of the political charivaris was between and In North Brabant there were various forms of community charivaris around carnaval which till still often occurred.
Only since the beginning of the 19th century, when the Netherlands was under French rule, the carnaval feast started to revive in the south of the Netherlands.
Some of the best-known traditions, including carnival parades and masquerade balls and masquerading, were recorded in medieval Italy.
The carnival of Venice was for a long time the most famous carnival although Napoleon abolished it in and only in the tradition was restored.
In the early 19th century the weakened medieval tradition started to revive as well in the German Rhineland and Southern Netherlands.
In the first modern carnaval parade took place in Cologne , Rhineland , Germany. Without denying that the current carnaval contains several recognizable aspects of the past, the feast as it is held today is relatively young.
Carnaval as it's known today began in the postwar period. Before that, it was repressed as a result of the strong protestant influence in the country.
With the exception of some places in Limburg and North Brabant , where in the nineteenth century the organization of medieval Carnaval celebrations was reviving again, the vast majority of the carnaval associations is established after World War II.
In the s, with a few exceptions, the feast was still confined to the southern provinces of Limburg and North Brabant , where the majority of the population was Catholic.
During the s, the relatively strong demarcation between the catholic south on one side and the Calvinist west and north on the other side of the Netherlands started to diminish.
According to cultural anthropologist Jef de Jager,. The upcoming protest generation saw that its desire for looser manners was honored, at least during the Carnaval days.
Even mild criticism of the political and social system, until then painstakingly smothered by the authorities, suddenly appeared to be possible Carnaval became to the South, what the Provo was to the North [of the Netherlands].
What actually happened was exactly the opposite of what had happened during the Middle Ages : a new morality was tested, not to investigate what is not allowed, but to investigate what is allowed.
Hence, De Jager believes, Carnaval was one of the developments that gave impetus to the South to more informal manners, individualization and sexual revolution and then to ontzuiling depillarisation and secularization.
The Carnaval exceeded in the s the border that is formed by " the Great Rivers " the Maas , the Waal and the Rhine , lost all religious connotations and became a secular feast.
Also the practice of lent became rapidly extinct in the Netherlands in the s and s. The south of the Netherlands, which is mostly Roman Catholic by tradition is now largely secular in practice.
After the modern feast of carnaval lost the association with Christian religion as a result of the rapid secularization in the Netherlands in the second half of the 20th century, the carnaval became more celebrated in parts of the country which were Protestant by tradition.
At the end of the twentieth century there were carnaval associations in all the provinces of the Netherlands which are active in organizing the celebrations.
As a result, the carnaval in these parts of the country usually lasts only one day with the emphasis on role dressing and feasting, without the social criticism, parades and months of prelude.
Carnaval officially lasts from Sunday to Tuesday, but the current practice is that often there are numerous Carnaval festivities between 11 November and the actual feast, especially in the last weeks before carnaval.
Sometimes there are also on Ash Wednesday some carnaval activities held. The post-Christian carnaval consist of several days consecutively drinking, feasting, role-dressing, social criticizing and mocking, parades and music.
Also specific carnaval traditions and customs which may vary from town to town are an important part of the modern carnaval.
The ridiculing and socially critical aspects of the carnaval are mostly emphasized during the parades. Southern schools often dedicate the Friday afternoon before the actual feast to the carnaval.
Children are invited to come role-dressed to school, sometimes the schools even organize a school parade and choose a school prince.
In the Netherlands, the start of the season is celebrated in almost every carnaval celebrating town with some kind of ceremony. The reason for this date is the number 11, which is traditionally the number of fools and madmen.
In the Netherlands there are two kinds of Carnaval: the Rhenish carnaval and the Burgundian carnaval. The Carnavals are in many ways similar, but because of their origins and unique traditions they are also easy to distinguish from each other.
The Rhenish variant is usually celebrated in Limburg , the Burgundian variant in the north, mid and west of North Brabant , Gelderland , Twente and in parts of Zeeland and in Utrecht.
The east of North Brabant where East Brabantian is spoken has manifestations of both types of carnaval and forms an overlap region of the two types of carnaval, but is often classified as Burgundian.
The Rhenish carnaval in the Netherlands is a derivative of the Cologne carnaval. The Burgundian carnaval originated from the traditional eating feasts during which people would ridicule one another during the carnaval in the Southern Netherlands nowadays Belgium , Luxembourg and the Dutch Provinces North Brabant and Limburg , especially in the Duchy of Brabant.
Carnaval is not only a feast of eating and drinking, but also serves as social role reversal feast which allows people to behave outside the usual acceptable social norm.
People will dress up as a character, much as seen during the eve of the Christian feast of All Hallows that appears in the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon culture, which though has developed from a different origin.
Masks and face paint are often used in combination with the costumes. The old tradition of wearing masks is becoming more and more replaced by the use of face paint, which makes it easier to drink and eat during the feasting.
The costumes allow people to change their identity and role in society for a few days without being judged for it by their fellowman during and after the carnaval.
This also applies to feasting and drinking and other licentious behaviour which can be attributed to the temporary identity one takes on, rather than to the person him or herself.
The function of this is to mirror and exaggerate daily life, to denounce and raise awareness of every day events and put life in perspective.
A proper mocking carnaval costume does not simply insult or ridicule, but makes actually a valuable point.
When not used to make a point, carnaval costumes offer an opportunity to temporarily change identity and express oneself freely.
Traditionally the role dressing serves three major purposes: . This element of the carnaval is already known in the medieval carnaval.
The changing of positions in power provide an opportunity to criticize the authorities without fear of retribution and are part of the role reversal function of the carnaval.
Since numerous societies were established which organized carnaval balls. In fact, these associations took on lots of activities which the guilds used to organize in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period before the French occupation and are in that sense their successors.
More than Burgundian, the Rhenish carnaval celebrations are dominated by carnaval associations. These associations, of which there are sometimes many per city or village with each their own prince and council of eleven, organize their own festivities for both members and non-members of the association during the carnaval.
The associations choose a prince and entourage and even though a Burgundian town can have dozens of carnaval associations, there is only one prince per city or village.
Cologne had already started organizing carnaval by an association in , followed in by Düsseldorf and Mainz in In Limburg the carnaval organized by an association was as common as in the German Rhineland.
Momus was probably the first carnaval association in the Netherlands and was founded in in Maastricht , followed by Jocus in the city of Venlo in Momus name derives from the Greek god Momus.
Momus is the Greek god of mockery and criticism. When in Venlo a sorority founded the carnaval association, they could thus choose between Comus Greek god of festivity, anarchy and chaos and Jocus Roman god of wit and raillery.
Momus is not the oldest existing carnaval association because it had faded out before the Second World War in After the war the carnaval in Maastricht was organized by the Tempeleers.
In many places, large carnaval parades are held with large floats, organized and created by the carnaval associations.
The parades have usual a particular theme whereby authorities are ridiculed and criticized, events of the past year are represented and which are often politically incorrect and used to make people think outside the box or function as a mirror to the society.
Also groups or individuals on foot will participate and fill the gaps between the carnaval wagons during the parade.
Fanfares and marching bands will provide for typical carnaval music. The floats are built by carnaval associations, but also often by independent groups of friends, families, neighbourhoods or other clubs.
A massive ship-looking wagon is shown in every carnaval parade which is manned by the prince, his entourage and the council of eleven of the city it is held or of the carnaval association that organized the parade and is usually the last float at the parade.
Carnaval parades often start at In that case they will start at 11 past the hour as well. Usually a competition will be held to choose the most outstanding contribution to the parade with separate categories for floats, groups on foot and individual participants.
Although a procession usually takes from a starting point to a point of arrival, it actually roams from nowhere to nowhere.
What only matters is the social binding during the parade. Along the route, the crowd forms a very essential part of the parade.
The crowd is not just spectator, they form living dikes along the carnaval river without which the parade would lose meaning.
Also separate children's parade are sometimes held which focuses not on ridiculing and criticism, but on role changing and dressing.
The number eleven plays an undeniably important role in the carnaval. The opinions on this subject are very divergent, so much so that one explanation often has nothing to do even with the other.
On the other hand, the number eleven is not only central to the carnaval, but it has built up a kind of mystical and magical value through the ages.
This happens to be the feast day of sint Maarten st. Martin's day. This day is celebrated in some parts of Groningen , North Holland and the southern part of Limburg and to a lesser extent in South Holland and Zeeland.
This feast is the beginning of the dark period before Christmas and the long days of winter. For centuries, 11 November, was the day that the year's work was deemed to be done.
The barns were filled for the winter, the selected livestock would have been slaughtered and very importantly: the lease, property taxes, interests, and tithe were to be paid.
These often weighed very heavily on the population. A year of scraping, frugality and putting every penny aside, would end after the payment on 11 November.
In both the Rhenish and the Burgundian carnaval plays an important role. At 11—11 on During this meeting will also the new Prince be announced.
In Brabant at the same meeting the new carnaval mottos are disclosed by the prince. Also it is the start of the building of the carnaval floats for the coming parade.
Eleven is original the "fools number" in Germanic culture. In German it is called a Schnapszahl and associated with alcohol consumption and used in numerology.
In the Dutch language it is associated with idiocy Dutch : gekkengetal. It is an imperfect number since it is one number less than the base number twelve in the duodecimal numeral system and one number more than the base number ten in the decimal numeral system.
Also it is a prime number. The number eleven in Dutch and German is translated as Elf. There is suggested that the word " elf " became associated with the words Elf , Elves , Elven or Alven.
But Christianized societies were viewing elves in increasingly sinister light. In Anglo-Saxon England as early as the 10th century, Old English medical books attest to elves afflicting humans and livestock by " elf-shot ".
The German elf or alp was seen as an addler of people in medical books, but already in the High Middle Ages there were prayers warding against it as the agent causing nightmares, and eventually for the alp its identity as nightmare spirit became predominant.
The ritual re-enactment of the Wild Hunt was a cultural phenomenon among many Gallic and Germanic peoples.
At the head of this army, would have been Erlenköning Hellequin. Although there is certain historical data on ancient meaning of the number 11, there may also be a younger explanation.
It is known that the oldest Geckengesellschaft jester group was founded by count Adolf of Cleve in and took place on 12 November.
Everything indicates that the foundation celebration of the 11th apparently got out of control, so the signing took place one day too late.
The seal of the count takes the 11th place in the row of 35 stamps. Cabaret in dialect is held in both variants of carnaval.
In North Brabant the person doing the cabaret is called a tonpraoter barrel speaker or in the Western part of North Brabant a sauwelaar , and is actually in or on a barrel.
In Limburg they are named buuttereedner or buutteredner and in Zeeland they are called an ouwoer. They all perform a cabaret speech in dialect, during which many current issues and events of the past year are reviewed.
Often there are local situations and celebrities from the local and regional politics who will be mocked, ridiculed and insulted.
The tonpraoter or buuttereedner is a successor of the medieval jester. Open stages are held in the weeks before the carnaval where people from the community, mostly amateurs, can participate in carnaval related acts like music, farces , dance acts and cabaret.
Such a bonte avond is free to visit for the public. During the "pronkzitting" there are also performances of carnaval orchestras and majorettes.
The prince and youth prince and their councils of eleven will attend. Unlike at other carnaval events, at the pronkzitting the usual dress code for the public is evening dress.
It may be assumed that the emergence of the figure of the jester is coinciding with the development of the medieval civilization.
Since the very beginning of his occurrence, the fool has been the personification of folly for centuries, as the jester was the one who tipped reality.
In other words, the jesters mirrored or exaggerated the everyday reality, and is way-ward or taboo -breaking.
They spoke truths that others were only secretly thinking. Actual fools often lacks the ability to behave according to the norms, while conscious jesters exaggerated to serve as a mirror to their public.
The image of the jester is mainly shaped by its heyday. This ran from the Middle Ages to the late seventeenth century.
The default image is that of the jester with fool's cap with bells, cheerful colors and oversized shoes, and marotte. In reality, some wore a jester costume, but other wore deliberately shabby clothes and some wore noble robes.
Nowadays we imagine the jester often with a small deformed appearance, but this was not always the case. There were basically two kinds of jesters.
The ones with physical and especially mental disabilities the fools who could be mocked by their employers and the real jesters who were hired or recruited to mock others and entertain.
If there were setbacks, they were the ones whom one could blame or who could take the heat, or the ones people could laugh about and determine that things could be worse.
The jesters were intelligent artists, well-spoken and theatrical witty. They were aware of their duties and took a position between the ruler and the people.
They could tell the king or ruler what no one else dared. A role that the contemporary tonpraoters and buuttereedners continue in a modern way.
A familiar phenomenon during the carnaval is the presence of the prince  and his entourage which is a parody on the normal authorities.
The prince rules the city during the days of carnaval and symbolizes this way the power that is held by the common people.
The format of this custom varies by region, the prince and his jester generally called adjutant however, are almost universally within the carnaval traditions.
The prince is traditionally a male and can be the same person for years, but often a different person is elected every year.
Depending on the towns tradition, the prince is chosen by the association or by all the people of the town, in which case a campaign is often held.
The prince is called Prins Prince or sometimes Vorst Fürst. Each year the usual all male Council of Eleven of every carnaval association proclaims a prince, and one adjutant or more aides.
The council of eleven does not necessarily hold eleven members, often there are more than eleven, sometimes less. The adjutant of the prince on occasion called jester is part of the Council of Eleven and is the main aid of the prince and second in command.
The actual origin of the name "Council of Eleven" is traced back to the Duchy of Brabant in the fifteenth century.
The Netherlands and Belgium in the Middle Ages consisted of a number of duchies , counties, heerlijkheden , etc.
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Sascha Gerstner. Andi Deris. With UNITED power, the new album will slam down our door early - produced by Charlie Bauerfeind and Dennis Ward, who are likewise excited about the quality song material they have on offer from the band.
With the new album we are able to top this. Markus Grosskopf.