Belgium is a small Kingdom, which is only a couple of hours to cross from South to North, but such a unique and rich traditions of the country is unlikely to meet in Europe. This state combines the seemingly incompatible: here is the official headquarters of NATO and conducts some of the most massive and fiery carnivals of the world.
February – is the most cheerful and attractive tourist month of the year. From 15 to 21 the number of flies all over the country so-called carnival week, bringing with it a flurry of positive emotions. Almost the entire Kingdom in time turns into a huge festival ground. In each city, the carnival lasts for different amounts of days and has its own characteristics.
A small town called Bench (Binche), few can boast to tourists, except that its massive medieval wall with 27 towers and a Central square. However, every year for three days the city is transformed beyond recognition on the occasion of the Carnival Bensa, which starts 49 days before Easter. The culminating day of this festival is called “Fat Tuesday” when in cramped city streets, there is a procession called “Gilli” – national heroes dressed in colorful national costumes of flowers. Handing out oranges and beating wooden clogs funny rhythm on the pavement, characters with stuffed straw humps and ostrich feathers in hats cause wild delight of the audience.
Pre-holiday preparation begins several weeks before the carnival: every Sunday held dances and musical rehearsals, and on the last Monday before the party – Halloween pranks «True de Nui”. In the days of the carnival in a quiet town attracts thousands of tourists looking for fun and unusual spectacles.
In the “Bold Sunday”, the first day of the carnival, the music of barrel organs and drums the procession through the streets in crazy costumes «Moseley” and other colorful characters. On the second day, called “youth day” or “bold Monday”, held in the town ’s battle confetti”, dances on the main square, dancing to the sounds of barrel organs, which are finished with evening fireworks.
Tuesday at 4 a.m. start preparing for the final day of the carnival, the only day when the representatives of all communities (Pierrot, Gilli, Peasants and Harlequins) dressed in their finery. In the morning Gilly cover their faces in wax masks, decorated with a mustache, a small green glasses and beard, and only after noon wear your high hats (height about 1 meter and a weight of 3 kilograms) and replace panicles on wicker baskets with oranges.
The feast lasts until late in the evening and is followed by a final procession Gilli empty and inverted baskets, without hats, dances heroes of the brass and drum music in the main square, fireworks and sparklers.
Carnival in the onion capital of the Kingdom
The town of Aalst (formerly known as Alist) also claims the title of the city’s carnivals. Its name translates as the bulb it is not by accident. In the ancient times there grew famous throughout Europe bow, after the harvest, which traditionally were arranged carnival action.
Allsky carnival attracts a huge number of guests, including state employees, children, adults, big and small entrepreneurs. Participants are parades tend to make fun of the reality, therefore, unusual costumes are sometimes sarcasm and exaggeration. Despite the fact that carnival is only 84 years old, he has already managed to produce a proverb that precisely describes all lovers of holidays: “Carnivalist to the grave”.
And again the carnival
Many Belgian holidays one way or another result in carnivals. For example, every year for several centuries in February in the town of Mons passes the battle of St. George with the dragon (in Russia, this is George and snakes). In Eupene February 19 is the famous “a Procession of Pink Monday”, in the city of Ieper – cat holiday, in Oostduinkerke – a shrimp festival in Brussels – the famous festival of the giants, in Bastogne – unique holiday ham. And that’s not all.
In the town of Malmedy on February 18 passes huge costume parade, where passers-by on the streets catching large wooden tongs. On the first Saturday of lent is traditionally held the ball “Dead rats” in Ostend. On the first day of lent in the streets of Chevre in front of every cafe performances on classical themes, and in the evening it serves traditional Belgian treats. On the first Sunday of lent is the most popular festival Belgium – “a Large candle flame”, after which arranged a large-scale fireworks. And so are endless.