Carnival of Binche

Binche is a Walloon town in the Belgian province of Hainaut. Binche is famous for its carnival held on the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. In 2015 the carnival will be organized on the 15th, 16th and 17th of February. It was first mentioned in 1395 as Quaresmiaux or Caresmiaux. This unique event has the status of Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity listed by UNESCO.

Gilles
Gilles

Like sort of warm up for the main attraction there are different street events held on several Sundays before the Ash Wednesday. The carnival parade includes different characters. The most important are the “Gilles”. They wear wooden masks, colourful costumes and wooden shoes. About 1,000 of them participate in the parade. Gilles dance and use their sticks to scare away evil spirits.

In the second part of the event Gilles wear special hats decorated with ostrich plumes and carry baskets full of oranges. They throw them to the people observing the parade.