The February Carnaval celebrations are not going to look anything like they did in previous years but alternatives are being worked out, Brabant safety boards have said in an open letter to locals.
Carnaval takes place the early spring, on the weekend before the six week’s of Lent, and is perhaps the most important event on the calendar of the southern provinces. The three days of partying always involve parades, costumes, oompah bands and plenty of beer.
This year’s celebrations are thought to have been one of the main spreaders of coronavirus in the early stages of the pandemic, when it was focused on Brabant and Limburg.
For next year’s event, the carnival associations, which traditionally organise the festivities, have been asked to come up with creative and possibly online alternatives to be submitted by December at the latest.
‘Big groups of people in bars, parades, music and party tents… are not going to be on the programme in 2021,’ the local safety board chiefs said in their letter. ‘Public health is paramount.’
The Brabant carnival federation said in a reaction the announcement did not come as a surprise. ‘We knew that the big parades and massive parties wouldn’t happen,’ chairman Rob van Laar told broadcaster Nos.
Van Laar said alternatives could include entertainment in a large hall where people could maintain a safe distance, exhibitions and street decorations.
This year’s Sinterklaas celebrations will not feature the usual parade either although his arrival will be broadcast live on television. The location is a closely guarded secret.
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