Here is a shot of my happy Carnival companions, from left to right : Birgit (Austria), Tugbag (Turkey / Austria), Ricardo (Portugal), and Julie (France). And of course there was me, the Louisianais (my new nationality).
U.N. meeting anyone?
Near the end of the morning (masked) activities, the various groups of Gilles make their way to the Grand Place to the seemingly erratic beat of their accompanying drums and the jingling of the bells dangling around their waists. Here's what a masked Gille looks like up close. For the afternoon parade, the Gilles no longer wear masks, but rather, large plumed head dresses which way upwards of 5 kg (11 lb). In the baskets they are carrying are oranges which will eventually be thrown to / at / into the throngs of parade-goers...kind of reminded me of St. Patrick's Day at home, only sweeter. These are some of the younger "Paysans", as they are called. They are distinguished from the other Gilles by their costumes of blue and white. Fewer in number, but just as crazy (if not crazier) with the oranges. Even the wee lil' tikes get in on the act, oranges and all.
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This page was created by David M. Rojas and last updated on Wednesday February 17, 1999.