. . . that we celebrated Queens Day in Lebanon. Coming Tuesday, she abdicates, and passes the scepter on to her son.
From then on, we will be celebrating Kings Day. She, being Queen Beatrix, the Queen of Holland, her son being Prince Willem Alexander.
The Dutch really have only two traditions when it comes to celebrations, and in good Dutch spirit, they’re not religiously affiliated (well, one originally may have been in a distance past): St. Nicolas and Queens Day. St. Nicolas is for young children, but Queens Day is for everyone. On Queens Day, April 30, we celebrate the birthday of the Queen, although her birthday isn’t really on April 30; it’s the birthday of her mother. But once you’ve set a date, you might as well stick to it.
|Helene the cook|
This was our very last Queens day, however. From now on, we will have to move the party to April the 27th (which is her son’s birthday), and call it Kings Day.
Queens Day in Holland is known for its large scale nationwide celebrations, and everyone is decked out in orange, because the Queen belongs to the House of Orange. Most famous, or maybe I should say notorious, is the ‘orange market’. This is where we gather all our junk, and schlep it to the streets, where we try and sell it to other people who have also dragged their junk to the market. You basically end up buying each other’s junk, meanwhile drinking copious amounts of alcohol and hanging out with your friends, while kids play all sorts of games.
|Sell your junk; start early. This is how we instill the trade spirit in our children :)|
We sort of try to emulate that here, and our kids bring their toys and books and videos they no longer play with, and sell it to other children.
In Holland it is a national holiday and we all get the day off. I am afraid my employer is not aware of this Dutch tradition, and we all have to appear for work coming Tuesday. The Dutch in Lebanon always celebrate it on the weekend closest to the 30th. And that was today.
If ever you plan to visit Holland, let it be on Kings Day, April the 27th (as today, was our very last Queen’s Day for a while). However, eventually we will go back to a Queens Day: the future king has 3 daughters.