Aalst Carnival: Onions dumped in rival city rekindle centuries-old ‘feud’
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    Aalst Carnival: Onions dumped in rival city rekindle centuries-old ‘feud’

    The rivalry between Aalst and Dendermonde seems to be rekindled now that Aalst Carnival is approaching. Credit: Lokale Politie Dendermonde/Facebook

    The police of the city of Dendermonde has posted images on social media showing people affiliated with Aalst Carnival leaving onions behind at two places in the city at night.

    On Sunday, the local police of the city of Dendermonde posted images from security cameras on its Facebook page, showing people dumping onions at a roundabout in the city in the middle of the night, right after a police van passed by. The officers did not manage to catch the “perpetrators.”

    The Carnival in Aalst will start next week, meaning some jokes and pranks have already started. The Aalst people especially like to mock their neighbouring city, Dendermonde. The Carnival-related “feud” between the two cities, in which they make good-natured fun of each other, has existed for centuries, but is extra prominent this year, as the traditional parade of the ‘Ros Beiaard’ will take place in May.

    The ‘Ros Beiaard’ is a folkloristic horse, which refers to the horse in the saga of “The four sons of Aymon.” In Dendermonde, a wooden horse symbolising the saga is over 5 metres tall as well long, and is carried around once every ten years during a procession, while the legend is acted out. The procession surrounding the saga is on the list of UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

    At the Hollandse Kazerne (Dutch Barracks), where the ‘Ros Beiaard’ horse is kept between parades, onions were found as well.

    The Aalst Carnival group ‘Bedesterd’ admitted they were responsible for the onions, as taking on “anyone who attacks Aalst” is their carnival theme this year. “We defend ourselves without violence and weapons, but with ridicule and laughter,” the group said, reports VRT.

    The rivalry between the two cities seems to be rekindled now that Aalst Carnival is approaching, and the ‘Ros Beiaard’ will be in a procession through Dendermonde again this year.

    At the roundabout, which has a statue of the ‘Ros Beiaard’, only a few onions and flags turned up, but they quickly disappeared again. “At 02:48 AM, some brave citizens of Dendermonde smelled trouble and made our city clean and odourless again,” the police posted on Facebook.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times