The Dutch are big on tradition. As Australians, this is new to us – we don’t have a great deal of tradition (2-up on ANZAC Day, Aussie Flag tattoos on Australia Day, beer cup snakes at the cricket).
Yesterday (Saturday) morning, I was woken by what sounded like someone blowing a vuvuzela. It was 515am, surely this wasn’t right. I passed it off as a strange sounding bird. It didn’t stop – it got louder and was joined by more vuvuzelas. What was going on? Did the World Cup start and I didn’t know, did the local footy team win? Was there a party I didn’t get invited to?
I was cranky! I stuck my head out of the window and there was a tribe of 12 year olds, marching through the streets, blowing their horns, carrying on and generally making a racket. As an old person, my first thoughts were – WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS?
Anyway, I gave in and got out of bed, as did Dave and the kidlet. Oh what a way to start a Saturday.
The noise continued until about 7am.
Curiosity got the better of me, so I turned to my trusty Facebook Group and asked if any knew what was going on. The answers came thick and fast.
It’s called ‘Luilak’ (LazyBones), it is a folkloric celebration on the Saturday before Pentecost (Pinkster).
Luilak, or Lazybones Day, is essentially a festival of youth and is celebrated in Zaandam, Amsterdam, and some other western Netherland towns. The holiday starts at four in the morning on the Saturday before Pinkster, or Whit Sunday, when troops of young people begin whistling, beating on pots, kettles and pans, ringing doorbells and raising such terrific racket that sleep is impossible. Indeed nobody can sleep, because any boy or girl refusing to rise and join the fun is branded Luilak, or “Lazybones” throughout the coming year. Luilakken, moreover, must treat their companions to candy or cakes, besides being the butt of all sorts of taunts, jokes and teasing.
You learn a new thing every day here!