Binche geared for biggest crowd ever
7 February 2005
BRUSSELS – The annual Binche carnival in Hainaut is preparing for a record crowd on Tuesday, the high point of the festival.
The traditional celebrations – recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – began on Sunday.
The pre-Lent rampage lasts a week and sees Binche residents mingling with visitors in one of Europe’s best parties.
On Monday, the celebrations are low-key, devoted mainly to children and young people who gather in the town centre to form a circle of friendship. Later in the evening, there will be fireworks.
The partying cranks up a gear on Tuesday, though, when more visitors arrive from outside Binche.
Last year, some 30,000 spectators attended and even more are expected this year since Prince Philippe and wife Mathilde have promised to attend.
They will watch 800 or so gilles – townspeople dressed in fabulous costumes wearing the Belgian national colours of black, red and yellow. The gilles start the festivities as early as 4.30 am by going door-to-door to collect each other before assembling on Binche’s Grand-Place.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news