- Folklore and Tradition
Some Belgian carnivals are called Laetare: a fitting name as it means "rejoice" in Latin. This cheerful tradition in La Louvière is over a hundred years old and the party lasts three days and three nights. Come along!
Sunday: the Gilles
The festivities start early - at 3 am! In each neighbourhood, the Gilles (the real stars of the carnival) gather before heading towards the city centre. They will meet in front of the City Hall. At noon, everyone is ready. The rondeau (traditional dances) start, bringing together stunning characters, all in traditional costumes. The Gilles, with their impressive feathered hats, then share oranges with the crowd. The day ends with fantastic fireworks on the Place Communale.
Monday: the procession
The Gilles fill the streets from 10 am, adding cheerfulness with music, games and theatre plays. The much-looked forward procession starts at 5 pm from the Place Maugrétout, the procession starts. Over 800 participants, together with orchestras, walk through the city, all the way to the Place Mansart where more folkloric dances will take place. The day ends, once more, with fireworks.
Tuesday: the party
Clowns, harlequins, Indians... Colour is everywhere. To mark the end of the carnival a mannequin dressed as a Gille is burnt on a bonfire. A fantastic finale for this unique carnival.