Binche Carnival Belgian Tradition

By Fantine Henry – Belgium

The Binche Carnival is an event in Belgium which started approximately in the 14th century. It is a tradition in a town called Binche. It is a real big deal in Belgium, the festive preparation begin up to seven weeks before the special date, “Fat Tuesday.”

binche kid

The main character of this event is the “Gilles,” they are people, specifically males, between three to sixty years old. Their performance is based on a musical act, dancing and marching. Dressed in a vibrant costume, wax masks and wooden footwear, “des sabots” in FreGilles de binchench. It is a real honour for the local people to participate in the show. The main characteristic of their costumes is their big hats adorned with ostrich plumes, which can cost more than 300$ to rent.


The last day of carnival, the Gilles assembled together in the center of Binche. They are dancing in the streets with rhythmic drums and ward off evil spirits with sticks. While they are walking in the streets with baskets of oranges, they thrown them to the public. You cannot return it back because it would be an insult; oranges are considered good-luck gift from the Gilles.


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