February 25, 2019

Belgium - Behind the scenes of Binche Carnival

As the Carnival Season is fast approaching, I want to show you a town that lives on the Carnival all year around. That is possible because I'm talking about the town of Binche from Wallonia region in Belgium. The Carnival and all the manifestations that take place on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday after Ash Wednesday are declared a UNESCO, Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

The town of Binche is the home of the famous Gilles, they are clown-like characters dressed in a vibrant costume, wax masks and wooden clogs. On their heads they wear large hats adorned with ostrich plumes. They throw oranges spreading good luck among the spectators of the carnival, though giving back the orange to a gilles is considered an insult.

We happened to arrive in Binche way after the carnival, but could still feel its influence. 

Besides the statue depicting the famous Gilles, the shops were selling carnival clothes and memorabilia, I think it was a carnival themes pub or restaurant and we were lucky enough to see the Gilles rehearsal, very close to this statue. 

Otherwise the town is a typical Walloon town, with a big square close to the town hall, with small houses tucked one against another on large streets, with some sort of a castle or at least fortifications. It was a sunny clear day which made the rocky walls even more impressive.

If you live in Luxembourg or around I do recommend you check Binche out. I would also like to go there during the carnival, but I don't really like crowded places so... Close to Luxembourg you can see the Gilles at the carnival of Arlon, they sometimes are part of the carnival throwing oranges, sometimes they are a no show. I guess my lack of information is due to the fact that people form Arlon are only now, timidly starting to use social media and if they do, it is always in French. As I do speak French only when I have to (so in Arlon) I guess Facebook or Instagram don't bring closer to me these sort of information. But if you are passionate about the carnival and you want to see the Gilles in Arlon, search their news in French and for sure you will have the answer.

That being said, I hope you loved reading this post as much as I loved putting it together! Big changes are coming your way. I am working on migrating the English content to another blog, that is why I've been absent lately from this one. But have no fear, is still strong and I intend on keeping it for as long as I can :) If you fancy keeping in contact with me, drop a line at on Facebook. 

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