The mad world of the Eastern Cantons carnival
There's something for all tastes at the Eastern Cantons Carnival! It is designed for all, young and old alike.
This carnival barely resembles any of the other carnivals in Belgium. Indeed, it is influenced more by the Rhineland. That's why the carnival is celebrated more or less in the same way as in Cologne or Düsseldorf.
Each year, the carnival starts officially on the same date and at the same time, 11 November at 11.11 am. But the processions are only held in the spring after the Altweiberdonnerstag (Old Women’s Thursday). On that day, women parade through the streets and take the keys of the town from the Mayor or Mayoress. From that moment on, the prince/princess rules the town until Ash Wednesday.
During the processions, you will be able to admire the colourful floats and groups parading through the streets of the various towns. The largest processions are the ones in Eupen and Kelmis, which are both held on Rose Monday. Children also have their part to play during these festivities. Indeed, there is a princely team for children, and they even have their own procession, the children's parade.
The princely teams play an important role during the carnival. It is them that represent their town during the festivities and they are given pride of place during the processions. The princely teams generally comprise a prince/princess, two pages, a jester, and a treasurer, and they change every year.
The tempo of the carnival is also given by music from singers from the region, such as Sven ohne Girls, D‘r Sach, and Domm en Dööl.