Belgium

Doudou, Mons (2)

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 …

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Binche Carnival

Binche Carnival, Binche, Belgium (4 March 2014). On Shrove Tuesday, the local Gilles parade through the centre of town. This is the only day of the year when the Gilles wear their elaborate costumes, including brightly decorated shirts and trousers (the shirt is stuffed with straw), and wooden clogs. Preparations begin around 3am, with guests …

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Doudou, Mons (1)

Doudou (Ducasse de Mons), Mons, Belgium (14 June 2014). The Doudou is a traditional festival held in the town of Mons, on the weekend of Trinity Sunday, in which a large, elaborately decorated gold casket said to contain the relics of St Waudru is paraded through the town, and culminating in the ritual combat with, …

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Aalst Carnival

Aalst Carnival, Aalst, Belgium (2 March 2014). The Carnival in Aalst is one of the largest and most vibrant in Belgium, with a tradition stretching back some 600 years, and attracting up to 100,000 spectators. Preparations for the carnival last for several months, and the spectacular floats and elaborate costumes are often bitingly satirical in …

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