It’s Doudou week again and this year is our third time around, so we’re getting pretty good at it.
La Ducasse de Mons is our town’s local folkloric tradition. A week of parades and bands, parties and fireworks, torches, drinking and a dragon battle. We have attended, in some fashion, every year and every year I write a blog post so I won’t rehash the history again (but if you want to know about the doudou, or care to see what we’ve done in the past, click here for 2013 and here for 2014).
This year we chose to avoid the battle altogether and concentrate strictly on the parade, watching from a vantage point where we could not get trampled. It’s all about learning from past mistakes.
The parade was exactly the same (because, you know, history), though we did spot one new addition to the sidelines. The men in orange, whose job it is to keep the crowd out of the street, now have a set of helpers. Keeping them hydrated with water, and, let’s be honest, beer, is a new group known as Les Companons de Panneau, or The Brotherhood of the Roadsign (the roadsign being the spot where the stash of water bottles is kept). If I had to guess, I’ll bet the boys in blue eventually become the boys in orange. This former sorority girl supports these kinds of traditions!
Also new for us this year, we actually got to witness the push of the golden cart, Le Car d’Or, rather than getting run over by the crowd, and that was quite a thing to see. So, here’s my advice, should you care to see it next year. Watch from above. Head to the stairs or wall surrounding St. Waudru’s to look down on the parade and keep yourself from being flattened by the crowd that closes in behind the cart. Because it’s bad luck for the city if Le Car d’Or doesn’t make it up the hill on the first try. And that crowd will be damned if they are going to let that happen again.
A word of warning. Should you watch it from above, beware the smell of the crowd as they thunder past. Hundreds of men who have been drinking all morning cause a warm cloud scented with alcohol to rise from the street in a rush. All part of the fun, right?