When is the Eupen Carnival?
The Eupen Carnival is a pre-Lenten carnival that takes place in the five days prior to Lent. The carnival celebration begins on the Thursday before Lent and finishes on Shrove Tuesday, which is the day prior to Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent). The highlight of carnival is the Rosenmontag Procession, which takes place on Rose Monday. The Eupen Carnival “silly season” officially begins on the 11th November, at 11:11am.
When is the 2023 Eupen Carnival? In 2023, the Eupen Carnival was scheduled to take place from Thursday 16 February until Shrove Tuesday which is 21 February, 2023.
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 kilometres (7.4m) 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?
The Eupen Carnival in Belgium is an annual carnival celebration that takes place in the Northeast region of Belgium. Eupen Carnival is a carnival stronghold in this region and hosts one of the biggest carnival processions in East Cantons. Eupen Carnival is about leaving winter behind, ushering in the Spring and having fun before the onset of Lent.
Eupen Carnival is a typical Rhenish carnival, which stands for the type of carnival that is found in the Rhineland, Germany. The Rhenish Carnival and all its variants has even been included as one of the first 27 traditions in the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage. Rhenish Carnival can be found here in Eupen because it is a German Speaking region.
Over the years, the traditional Rhenish Carnival traditions have combined with their own local traditions and customers, creating a very unique carnival celebration. Eupen Carnival is steeped in history and folklore. Carnival plays an important part in the identity of Eupen and it is about more than public parades and parties, here they also keep traditions alive that date back hundreds of years alive.
How do they celebrate Eupen Carnival?
Every year before the onset of Lent, carnival fever takes over the city of Eupen! Eupen Carnival is the last change before the start of Lent to give in to all temptations! Carnival gives the locals a chance to forget about their worries for a few days, let their hair down, dress up and indulge in good food and drink.
The high-spirited locals hit the streets wearing some of the most extravagant and wacky costumes, while the beer flows freely. Carnival bands, costumed performers, musicians and floats parade through the town. Parties occur everywhere, in the streets, public squares, pubs and restaurants.
Eupen Carnival Key Events
There are processions every day during Eupen Carnival. Here are the most important events at Eupen Carnival:
- Fat Thursday: Old women procession
- Saturday: Children’s procession
- Shrove Sunday: Traditional Carnival Procession
- Monday: Rose Monday Procession
Fat Thursday – Old Women’s Carnival
Eupen Carnival kicks off on the Thursday of carnival at 11:11am. Today the women take over the town and even the public officials have to yield to them. The tradition was created in protest against the old carnival traditions that excluded women. Women’s Thursday has been running for over two centuries.
In this celebration the women get dressed up in dazzling costumes and make their way through the town singing, dancing, having fun and turning the heads of men.
The women will also carry a pair of scissors and go around cutting the neck ties of men to keep as trophies. There is a competition on who can get the most ties. The men will wear strange and ridiculous shaped ties for fun.
Sunday – Prince of Carnival and Children’s Carnival
Rosenmontag or Rose Monday is the most important day of carnival because the Pope would mark this day sacred with a golden rose, a tradition that dated back to the Middle Ages.
An incredible carnival procession takes place today which is the highlight of carnival. In fact, Eupen Carnival has one of the greatest carnival processions in Belgium!
Over 60 floats and hundreds of carnival groups will accompany the Carnival Prince and his entourage through the village, leaving a trail of rose petals. They will be joined by musical Groups and costumed performers. Thousands of spectators dress up in costumes and come out today to enjoy the parade. The parade culminates in a big celebration.
Rosenmontag – 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, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, is the last day to feast, drink and party before the onset of Lent. There is another procession today, but it is a lot smaller and calmer than the previous parade. Today instead of dropping Rose Petals, they throw purple petals during the parade.
At midnight the Town announces that it is officially the end of the ‘silly season’ and the celebrations end. It is officially Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent and the beginning of the 40-day fasting period.
What to wear to Eupen Carnival?
Everyone both young and old, dresses up in colourful carnival costumes. In fact, if you don’t dress up you will feel a little left out so we highly recommend that you do too! Eupen Carnival is similar to American Halloween, so you can dress up however you like. People go all out in Eupen and you will see plenty of colourful, over the top, fun costumes. You may even see a lot of people in the parade dressed in traditional folkloric carnival costumes.
What to eat at Eupen Carnival?
It is a carnival tradition to indulge in rich and decadent food. There are two carnival specialties that are special to the region that you must try; these include Pets-de-nonne which is hilariously known as a nun’s fart. Or try a delicious fried cream filled doughnut known as Boules de Berlin or a meringue called Baisers de Malmedy.
Where to stay for Eupen Carnival?
As Eupen is a small city there are not a huge range of hotel options. If you want to be close to the action for carnival then we suggest staying in one of the three accommodation options below.
Of course, Eupen is surrounded by a number of nearby towns and villages where you can stay and easily make your way to carnival.
Check out Booking.com for some accommodation deals here.
Book your Hotel and Flight for the Eupen Carnival
4 places to visit in Eupen
Eupen, a small town in Belgium, that 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 metres 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 National 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 centre 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.
Top things to do and see in Belgium on Viator
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.
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 kilometres (22.9m) 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).