Carnaval de Binche 2014

Carnaval de Binche is an annual carnival event in the Town of Binche, Belgium. This year (2014) is the 10th year anniversary of the Carnaval de Binche’s recognition as a Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO and it is by far the only one on the list around Northwestern European region. The small town of Binche is located in the Province of Hainaut (approximately 1 hour train ride south west of Brussels). This town has only about 35, 000 inhabitants, however the carnaval attracts about 5 times of the town’s population. It is the grandest and oldest Carnaval in Belgium.

The Carnaval de Binche has parades and parties starting Friday to Tuesday of the first week of March. The main event, of course, is the Mardi Gras a.k.a fat tuesday or in Binche it is “Shrove Tuesday”. I was only able to come on the Shrove Sunday parade. Nonetheless, it was still an amazing experience.

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The revelers and tourists flocks on the main carnaval avenue of the town of Binche. The number of people is quite overwhelming for this quaint town
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While waiting for the parade, you can head over to the International Carnival and Mask Museum just a few meters away from the Binche’s Grand Place, and get an over view and background of the Carnaval in Belgium and around Europe.
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The “Gilles” on display at the International Carnival and Mask Museum. The “Gilles” is the star of the Carnaval de Binche. Men of all ages can participate as a “GIlles” and wear the costume. Most men in the town aspires to become a “Gilles”.
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Parade on Shrove Sunday. This might have been the SLOWEST parade I have ever experienced. It took about 2 hours for the horses on that view (above photo), to come in front of us (below photo).
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Even before the parade, you can already see people parading around the town wearing different costumes.
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You can grab a bag of confetti and throw it around you! 🙂
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The parade on Shrove sunday showcases the different societies and groups from the local town, from all over Belgium,  and even from around Europe, either sponsoring or just participating in this year’s carnival.
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Some costumes are traditional, while others are quite familiar .
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All the carnival parades end at the Binche’s town square (Grand Place).

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