Monday, February 28, 2011
The Carnival of Binche is an event that takes place each year in the Belgian town of Binche, during the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday. The carnival is best known of all the others that take place in Belgium, at the same time and has been proclaimed as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Its history dates back to approximately the 14th century.
Events related to the carnival begin up to 7 weeks prior to the primary celebrations. Street performances and public displays traditionally occur on the Sundays approaching Ash Wednesday, consisting of prescribed musical acts, dancing and marching. Large numbers of Binche's inhabitants spend the Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday in costume.
On Shrove Monday, the feast is a traditional, more private gathering of locals. To the tune of the viols and the hurdy-gurdies, they all go from pub to pub, and from pub to friends and neighbors houses, as they get ready to invite the voil, who are dancing in the streets.
At about 3 p.m. the children gather, just like the adults had done the day before. The younger ones dance to the music of the drums and brass bands. They then convene in the Town Square, they all dance to the "rondeau de l'amite." Then after hours of dancing and singing until about 8 p.m., they leave to enjoy fireworks at the stationing area.