Wednesday, May 7, 2008

April 30th Queen's Day celebration

Queen's Day celebrates the birthday of the former Queen Juliana and is one of the largest, most vibrant celebrations in the Dutch calendar. Flags fly, music pumps and millions take to the streets for a national holiday. It was our first time seeing so many more people packing in the narrow Delft streets.

The current Queen Beatrix decided to maintain the holiday her mother set, and the festivities have become an integral part of the national culture. Every city and town in the country transforms itself into a fairground: bright orange pendants wave in the wind; town choirs welcome the day; all shops are shut and all trade is unregulated - the streets become an open-air market as attics are emptied for hidden treasures to sell.

That is the greatest idea: any person can set up your own stalls to sell things. As a tradition, most family will excite their kids to participate, and give the income to kids. So you will see lots of business were owned and managed by little ones. They are really not great stuffs at all. We all felt that in US you can collect much better stuff from around the trash cans :-) but on the other hand, it does show different attitude of people towards things. Americans like to renew their stuff much more often, or maybe they have to move more often. In a world when environmental concern is spreading around, Dutch people have a much smaller footprint in the world than Americans from the beginning.

Check it out:

On a slightly different note. I watched a program recently called Human Footprint. It says a two years old born in the western world have a bigger footprint on earth than a person's whole life footprint who live in Somalia - just because of the diapers consumed in those two years!

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