The Eupen Carnival in Belgium is a Germanic cultural festival known for being celebrated on November Fools’ Day. Different aesthetic expressions of comedy can be appreciated in this fabulous street festival with amazing dances, lots of beer, and a somewhat strange humor.
When is the Eupen Carnival?
The Eupen Carnival has a tradition of using “11” as the lucky number, so the carnival begins on the 11th month (November), on the 11th day, at 11:11 AM, and with a committee of 11 people who write the 11 commandments of the Eupen Carnival.
In addition, November 11 is also Fools’ Day in the early Germanic calendar, which is why humor and pranks are also essential in the carnival, since there is a strong symbolism that connects both celebrations together.
Every year, on November 11, the Eupen Carnival starts with the first parade known as the street carnival. Before that, as explained before, 11 people meet to write the 11 commandments of the carnival, which is just a hilarious set of rules where people are encouraged to dance, drink and celebrate the best way they can.
Where does the Eupen Carnival take place?
The Eupen Carnival is held in a small area of Belgium, a sovereign state of the European Union. One of its many cities is Eupen, located in the northeast side of the country.
Eupen is 12 kilometers from the border with Germany, and its population is estimated to be 20,000, a fairly small but welcoming town.
Interested in other carnivals in Belgium? Take a look at these:
Make the most of your trip and discover the Eupen Carnival as well other carnivals in other Belgian cities.
What is the Eupen Carnival in Belgium?
The Eupen Carnival in Belgium is one of the many carnivals that take place in Northeast Belgium. The event is an exciting carnival where people are not afraid to show their fun side while enjoying music and dances.
Every year, the Eupen Carnival is held so that families and children get to see these incredible live performances. Even city politicians as well as other important figures attend the large carnival party to watch the performances.
The schedule of the Eupen Carnival includes music, dances, major events, special nights and unique evenings, acrobatic performances, parades with a lot of rhythm, and countless activities for people to enjoy.
Women’s empowerment at the Eupen Carnival
The role of women in the history of Belgium’s Eupen Carnival has always been set aside because in the old days, wives, daughters and mothers were not allowed to participate in the celebrations.
For a long time, women only worked as seamstresses at the Eupen Carnival, and were in charge of sewing and weaving the fabulous costumes men wore.
In response to the social rejection, women established their own celebrations one day before the start of the Eupen Carnival. On Thursday, the festival begins with a Parade of Old Women, in honor of the women of yesteryear who fought to be acknowledged.
The Eupen Carnival is an insane celebration!
If the Eupen Carnival is known for something, is for the hilarious costumes you can find in the parades. Those who participate in the carnival always try to add their own humorous touch to their attires.
As the celebrations begin, the streets and avenues of Eupen are flooded with pirates looking for treasure, two-legged elephants, giant frogs and pigs, clowns and many characters that have become icons of this carnival, all accompanied by bands playing trumpets and drums while everyone dances around.
The Eupen Carnival is a historical event for the city, where locals and tourists get wild and dance on the streets without restraint. It is a celebration where everyone can forget about the daily problems. Don’t miss out on one of the best carnivals in Belgium!
The weather at the Eupen Carnival
The weather in Eupen for November is usually cold. In general, Belgium is known for having a cold climate throughout the year.
According to weather information services, it is estimated that the average weather is between 10 and 12°C. Even so, rainfalls are not common during the Eupen Carnival.
Eupen Carnival schedule
The Eupen Carnival has many activities and parties to brighten up the days. Music, dancing, drums, joy and lots of fun are expected at the Eupen Carnival.
Find out everything you need to know about the Eupen Carnival schedule and discover the Germanic tradition of this exciting city:
- Thursday morning: Street Carnival.
- Thursday afternoon: Women Parade.
- Sunday morning: Carnival Prince Contest.
- Sunday afternoon: Children’s Carnival.
- Monday: Closing ceremony and Rose Monday.
Kappensitzung or Street Carnival
The opening parade takes place on Thursday morning, officially starting the Eupen Carnival and all the other festivities. The parade is known as the street carnival or Kappensitzung, where anyone can join and march while wearing handmade costumes.
The street carnival is like the starting pistol that marks the beginning of the other unique events happening during these dates.
Discover Women’s Thursday
Women created their own day for celebration as a protest against the old gender ban on all carnival activities. For two centuries, women have been celebrating Women’s Thursday during the Eupen Carnival, making it a day of fun for everyone.
This day, old women take the spotlight by marching in a street parade. They can be seen wearing dazzling outfits and armed with scissors in hand, a symbol to remember the fact that women were not allowed in these cultural events, so now they take revenge on men by cutting their ties and keeping them as trophies.
The entire procession is a traditional act of ancient times and way to keep history alive, a turning point in the lives of many women.
There is also a funny competition between the women to see who gets the most ties, and as a way to support the event, the men wear ties with strange and ridiculous shapes.
Sunday: Prince of Carnival and Children’s Carnival
On Sunday, two important events take place: the Prince of Carnival Contest in the morning; and the Children’s Carnival in the afternoon.
To begin with, the Prince of Carnival is the most important figure of the Eupen Carnival. Whoever has the most eccentric suit wins the contest and earns the noble title.
And what happens after someone is chosen as the Prince of Carnival? The person that wins the title receives the keys of Eupen, taking power in the city. Obviously, this is purely symbolic, as the keys are later returned to the city council. In fact, the carriage of the Prince of Carnival goes through the city and, at the end of the ride, he hands back the keys.
The incredible air of joy created by the citizens of Eupen during the event is simply indescribable. You can tell that this carnival is something they hold very close to their hearts.
Another celebration follows in the afternoon: the Children’s Carnival, a unique moment where kids get to watch family-oriented performances and floats.
You should keep in mind that, despite being the Children’s Carnival, the event is not less important. On the contrary, the performances and preparations for this part of the carnival are also carried out by true professionals at the Eupen Carnival, so everyone gets to see great visuals and artistic displays.
Rose Monday, a unique event
The Eupen Carnival ends its celebrations with Rose Monday, the most anticipated, beautiful and artistic event of the carnival.
It takes place before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Rose Monday is not an exclusive event of Eupen, but also found in countries such as Austria and Switzerland, where the same festivities are held.
On Rose Monday, people take to the streets in a great parade with floats, music and dances, leaving behind a trail of rose petals. Women and men with scarves, suits and hats walk by the float, dropping petal flowers from small baskets.
At the end, the route drawn by the parade as the rose petals are left behind turns into an amazing artistic sight.
Violet Tuesday and Ash Wednesday
Although the carnival ends on Rose Monday, the festivity actually runs until Ash Wednesday.
Violet Tuesday is very similar to Rose Monday, but with purple petals. Even so, it is a quieter parade as the party dies down to welcome Lent.
How do I get to Eupen?
Eupen is located in a corner of Belgium. Unfortunately, this city does not have an airport, although there are airports nearby.
The nearest airport in Eupen is 37 kilometers away, in Maastricht. Once there, visitors can take a train to Eupen. The ticket is very cheap, and the journey only takes 1 hour and 52 minutes.
Other nearby airports to Eupen:
- Cologne Bonn Airport (81 km).
- Dusseldorf Airport (88 km).
- Brussels South Charleroi Airport (112 km).
- Brussels Airport (113 km).
However, people can also travel to other airports near Eupen and then take the train, since the Belgian rail system is very extensive and covers many cities.
Book your Hotel and Flight for the Eupen Carnival
4 places to visit in Eupen
Eupen, a small town in Belgium, has many interesting attractions apart from the Eupen Carnival. Here are some of its most iconic places:
- Lake Eupen: Between the 1940s and 1950s a huge dam up to 63 meters high was built. This artificial reservoir is formed by the rivers Vesdre and Getz, a spectacular sight that can be enjoyed while visiting the cafes or parks next to the lake.
- Hautes Fagnes-Eifel Natural Park: this plateau was formed 7500 years ago and it’s full of vegetation and wildlife. Streams, valleys, remote villages and more can be discovered in this immense natural park.
- IKOB Museum: It is considered an iconic center for contemporary art. In the last 25 years, the museum has benefited from a large number of artists and works that have been featured in its premises.
- Nikolaus: The highest point in the city is the St. Nikolaus Church twin towers. These baroque style towers have been built since 1720, and belong to one of the oldest churches in the country.
Make sure to visit the incredible Eupen Carnival in Belgium and take the opportunity to enjoy all these exotic places.