Le Carnaval de Binche, 2015

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If you’re in Belgium during carnaval season, (or have a vitamin C deficiency) you have to attend the Carnaval de Binche.  This was our second year attending the UNESCO recognized event (2013’s parade was documented, and all the basic Gilles facts can be found here) and it was even more fun for us this time around as we knew where to stand to watch the parade and we brought a crowd with us.

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The last time we came to the parade we almost missed it.  It was just so cold.  I came thisclose to making us leave in order to keep all of our fingers and toes.  This year was, mercifully, much warmer.  We arrived hours early to ensure a good spot for picture taking and orange catching and then we waited and waited and threw confetti at each other.  And waited.

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The first marchers in the parade are the tiny Gilles.  Or at least that’s what I call them.  Next come the Pierrots, then the Arlequins, then the Peasants.  Each group is a society from a different school in the city of Binche.  We learned that it’s the Peasants you have to watch out for.  The oldest of the non-Gilles, they seem to like to show off their orange throwing skills, opting for force rather than good aim.

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Next up are the Gilles.  The afternoon had threatened rain, which would have required the Gilles to leave their ostrich feather hats at home, but the weather cooperated and even cleared for a bit.  Fancy hats all around!

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With all of our kids lining the fence around the parade route, we collected a lot of oranges.  I mean, a lot.  Too many, one might say.  If you happen to have any good recipes that require blood oranges, feel free to send them my way.

Happy Mardi Gras!

Oh, wait!  Check this out!  I noticed it when I was scanning my pictures from this year…

2013…2015… Same guy!

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