The Carnival -Belgian style

It was a bright Sunday morning, as we had planned to rebuild buggy trailer so that it would fit all 4 of our buggies. Our newest, the Apexx, had finally entered the family. So far, it had been sitting on our living room floor, unscrewed and in pieces – Ah the fresh smell of rubber tires in the morning…

After breakfast we stepped out and found ourselves right in the middle of carnival preparations. Carnivals are a big thing in Belgium. The city Aalst is probably the most famous venue for a Carnival here. But even the humble village of Rupelmonde, a town of some 3 000 inhabitants, organizes a carnival of up to 30 groups parading!  Since the carnival was there, I grabbed the camera with us, and we strolled around the streets for a moment. A long moment, since our car got blocked into the parking lot by the whole ordeal.

We walked by the wagons, built for the occasion with all sorts of decor and groups of people finishing the makeup and costumes. There was a hint of nervousness in the air. Kids, walking around, taking themselves seriously, and already a few rather tipsy adults and a random sound check here and there blaring out a cacophony.

The essence of the Belgian Carnival seems to be drinking. As much pilsner as you can get down your throat. The best drinker of the village gets to be the prince of the Carnival. If you manage to be the heavily boozed prince for 3 year in a row, you will be granted the honor of Lordship. The Princes and Lords are the rulers of the village or city for that day. And invite the neighboring royalties to party with them. The tradition is, that they present themselves in gold embroidered clothing and pheasant feathers.

This thing is a serious business for some. It takes a lot of money and effort and passion to put together a good parade. The best groups win prices and rise into fame, at least momentarily. Some of these poor people need to attend the festivities the whole month, and are, undoubtedly, very drunk almost all the time.

Once the parade gets moving, all the wagons blast out dancing beats, throw candy and confetti into the crowd of spectators and dance, jump and run into deeper state of drunkenness.

As the last of the parade had staggered by and the path was clear for us to drive out, we headed towards Waffles parents to collect the trailer. Only to find out that someone had chopped down the trees, so that they blocked the entrance to the shed where the trailer spends its free time. We had a very unproductive Sunday. How was your weekend?




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