Carnival's outfit from The Netherlands (TRC 2020.0392a-b).From the 23rd-25th February, people in large parts of The Netherlands, especially in the south, will again be celebrating carnival. This festival is a Western Christian tradition that is especially celebrated in Catholic countries, and takes place just before the liturgical period of Lent (the forty days of fasting before Easter).
Carnival always ends with Ash Wednesday (this year the 26th February), which is the first day of Lent. The preceding Tuesday is often known, especially in Protestant countries, as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, or more popularly, 'Pancake Day'.
Carnival is generally marked by street parades, fancy costumes, and an overall mockery of the establishment. An important aspect of carnival is the fancy costume that people are wearing.
The TRC recently received a carnival's outfit (TRC 2020.0392a and TRC 2020.0392b). We don't know its origins, it may even derive from the Leiden area. Carnival in the Netherlands is traditionally centred in the south of the country, with a dominant Catholic population. In the more Protestant north, including Leiden, carnaval is not widely observed.
But there have always been groups "north of the rivers" that celebrated carnival, especially in recent years when people from the south migrated in large numbers to the north of the country.
The TRC costume consists of a polyester cotton with a colourful printed design. The skirt is made of straw. In the week of carnival the fancy costume will be on display at the TRC.
Gillian Vogelsang, 13th February 2020.