Monday, April 4, 2011

Carnaval Halle 2011: day 2 (continued)

As it turns out, Saturday's spectacle was only an appetizer to Sunday's main parade. Having put the rowdiness of the previous night firmly behind them, people lined up in the thousands to see dozens of colourful floats float by through the confetti- and candy-covered streets of Halle.

A replica of the alderman for culture in Halle, surrounded by "librarians".

A portable saloon, complete with beer (we are in Belgium, after all).

Even the Smurfs made an appearance.

People have been celebrating carnival in Halle in some form or other since 1403, but much has changed since then. The oldest surviving tradition is the Gilles. These are men dressed in traditional costumes who stomp their feet all over town to wake the Earth up after a long winter in order to ensure good crops. Their hats are made of ostrich feathers, which is funny because they remind me of those little white paper things you stick at the end of turkey legs.

Oh, and the Gilles also throw blood oranges at the spectators. We caught seven, which we turned into delicious orange juice. That was by far the best part of the carnival.

One of the Gilles with his apprentice.
I wonder where they keep those hats the other 363 days of the year.

Halle has 45 official carnival associations, each of which builds a float for the carnival. You can see some of the floats and dancers in this little video I made.


  1. Awesome post, baby! :D
    I think yesterday was definitely the best day of carnival :)

  2. It was even better than I had expected!
    Remind me to bring the camera to Stationsplein tomorrow morning to photograph the aftermath...

  3. Correction for picture 1. The replica isn't the major but the alderman (hope this is correct translation) of culture in Halle. He's responsible for the library that's why he walked together with the librarians.