Binche is back: carnival celebration returns


The famous Carnival celebration in Binche (in the province of Hainaut) is back this year after two years of interruption due to the pandemic.

Many towns and cities in Belgium celebrate the holiday, and do so in February or March, in the period before Lent, the period of religious observance practiced by Christians.

The celebration indeed takes place in all parts of the country, with arguably the most famous ones being those of Aalst (in the province of East Flanders) and Binche, not to forget the particularly special carnival in the Eastern cantons.

The Binche Carnival consists of three days of celebrations, on Fat Sunday, Fat Monday and Fat Tuesday (or, as you may know it, Mardi Gras).

Across these days, people can enjoy processions, confetti battles – yes, you read that right --, fireworks, and a very special procession on Mardi Gras, at which point we meet, among other characters, the Gilles.

To a Belgian, the name Binche immediately calls up the image of these mysterious characters that wear jute clothes with stars, lions and crown motifs in the appropriately Belgian colours of black, yellow and red. There are other parts to the costume but perhaps most characteristic is their big hats ornate with ostrich feathers.

Let’s rejoice in the fact that Binche is back and at the same time pay homage to all the other wonderful carnival celebrations happening in Belgium.