for ISKCON News on May 4, 2012
Koninginnedag or Queen's Day is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Though Queen Beatrix was born on 31 January, the holiday is observed on 30 April as it was the birthday of her mother and predecessor, Juliana.
Many of the traditional activities are held outside, and observing the holiday in April makes suitable weather more likely.The festival is also an opportunity for "orange madness" or oranjegekte, for the national color, when the normally straight-laced Dutch let down their hair, often dyed orange for the occasion.
On April 30th, millions of people gathered in Amsterdam to celebrate - they all sported clothes, hats, garlands, feather boas and socks colored bright orange, the color associated with the royal family of the Netherlands.
The saffron-clad ISKCON devotees felt quite at home chanting Hare Krishna in this crowd of fellow orange celebrants, throughout the day.
Kadamba Kanana Swami – who has been organizing the event for 16 years – led a group of about 300 devotees who were doing ecstatic kirtan from the morning till the night.
One of the invited kirtaniyas, Kripamoya Das from the UK said: “as we wove our way in the sunshine through the crowds along the streets and canals (and Amsterdam has 140 kilometers of canal) the crowds moved in around us, pulled in by the magnetic force of the sound of drums and cymbals, the raised voices happily singing, the dancing, the spontaneous party mood – and the strong color of orange. Irresistible.”