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Paola's Carnival experience

I was in Maastricht for the Carnival, and I found it very enriching and meaningful. It was the first time I participated in a Carnival abroad: in my small town in Italy, the Carnival is celebrated quite differently. It's true that I missed being home for this event, which is very important for me, but I'm also quite happy, because I was able to experience a different Carnival, in a country, The Netherlands, very different from my own. I had the opportunity to find out how Dutch people have fun during the Carnival, and how they find distraction from their daily routine and problems.

The city was packed with people, dressed up in very special clothes with extremely gaudy colours. There were people of every age who danced, paraded and had fun. Carnival floats paraded along the city streets, with incredibly loud music and many young people who drank and sang at the top of their voices. Their costumes were very remarkable, well-made and with threads made of little lights, similar to those that are used to decorate the Christmas tree. What amazing costumes! And what amazing colours!

Those costumes impressed me a lot, because I imagined how much commitment and precision it must've taken to make them and to wear them on that special event. However, I couldn't really understand what they wanted to symbolize. They were so eccentric, that I almost got a headache by looking at them for too long: I'm photophobic and so I get really uncomfortable when lights are too bright and there is too much chaos. There was so much mess that it was even hard to walk through the city streets. And it was even harder for me, as I often lost balance.

I'm always really interested in the sounds and smells of the new places I explore. I heard people singing local songs along the streets, and I couldn't help thinking of typical songs from my own town. The smell of food and drinks, too, and of the city itself, were all different for me, but very typical of Northern Europe.

All in all, I'm very glad I got the chance to see Maastricht's Carnival, because it enriched me a lot.