Later this month the city of Mons in Belgium will take the title European Capital of Culture 2015, but the single greatest event in its annual calendar is undoubtedly the ‘Doudou’ (Ducasse du Mons) – the ritual combat with and ‘slaying’ of a giant processional dragon in the town square, frankly one of the wildest and most enjoyably bonkers events I’ve ever seen/photographed. The images below were taken during the Doudou in June 2014. © Rudolf Abraham.
The ‘combat’ – involving a 200kg dragon, St George on horseback and a whole legion of devils – takes place on the weekend of Trinity Sunday (15 June 2015), and is watched by thousands on a packed Grand Place, the main town square in Mons, with those at the front trying hard to rip some horse hair off the dragon’s tail (which is said to bring good luck for the year ahead). The Doudou is inscribed on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The combat is preceded by a more solemn and far less sweaty procession, bearing an elaborately decorated gold casket said to contain the relics of St Waudru – and plenty of merrymaking in the narrow, cobbled streets of the old town centre of Mons.
Photos and text copyright © Rudolf Abraham. All rights reserved. Images may not be copied, stored, distributed or published in any form without prior written permission from Rudolf Abraham.
All images shot on a Nikon D700 & 70-200/2.8