by Suzanne L. Beenackers
I live in the South of the Netherlands where currently the Carnival is taking place. It’s a local event, where neighborhoods have flocked together in preparation of the parade for months. Every group creates a wagon float around a current theme, and sows matching costumes for the members, sometimes up to a hundred people on and around the wagon. The Catholic festival is celebrated by the whole town or city, 4 to 7 days on end, with a lot of dressing up Halloween Style (but anything bad taste will pass), a surplus of drinking and more promiscuity then anyone wants to be reminded of afterwards.
But what happens at Carnival stays at Carnival.
It should therefor come as no surprise that Carnaval, which is only celebrated below the rivers in the originally Catholic part of the country, has become increasingly popular by hipsters, trend setters, and other below thirties who have the misfortune of living in the protestant and wealthy West.
But what few know is what Carnival means. What exactly are we celebrating? What is the reason all these people feast like there is no tomorrow?
The word Carnival comes from Carne, vale! Latin for So long, meat! This refers to both meat for consumption as to carnal intercourse. On Ash Wednesday all party people and other sinners would (and some still will) drag themselves to church to get the ash cross on their foreheads: the beginning of the Lenten season. 40 days+ 6 Sundays (where you could have 1 cookie instead of zero) leading up Easter. With little to eat, no alcohol, no sugar, and no carnal sinning for 46 days, I have the feeling Lent will never have what it takes to go viral.
During Lent, many of the faithful commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxeries as a form of penitence. Many Christians also add a Lenten spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional, to draw themselves near to God.
But especially when you are not the type for a week long bender, for example because you do yoga and prefer a more, well, balanced lifestyle, Lent may actually appeal to you more than Carnival does. Lent can be 6 weeks where you could develop a spiritual practice, such as yoga, meditation, diary writing or praying.
It starts this Wednesday.
week 4 video:
20 minutes with Adriene : Day 4 Yoga has your back
If you are looking for a strong practice you can check Kino on You Tube.
She offers challenging 20-30 minute classes.
That’s it for this week. And for the record: I saw the link between the Adriene’s theme and a week long sex scandal. But it would be so immature to make jokes about that…..