Laetare louviérois carnival begins its first day of festivities

Laetare louviérois carnival begins its first day of festivities
Credit: Belga / Nicolas Maeterlinck

The carnival of the Laetare louviérois began on Sunday and is set to continue over three days of festivities. Locals and carnival fans were present in large numbers, with Mayor Jacques Gobert estimating that nearly 10,000 people were present.

At 05:00, the “Ramassage” started, with a procession of the Gilles from their homes to the Place Mansart, which lasted until almost 13:00.

Gilles societies gathered from all different areas of La Louvière, dressed in their traditional Binchois costume to walk towards the town centre and dance to the rhythm of the brass band.

The Gilles took to the streets with their traditional dance – the Rondeau – alongside other supernatural characters, dancing arm in arm to the rhythm of the drums, while oranges were thrown into the crowd. The more delicate Gilles opted to hand the oranges to the younger participants, instead of lobbing them. It is considered to be good luck to catch an orange.

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“I am deeply moved to be here. The beginning and the end of this morning are the most important moments. Today, I live 50 kilometres from La Louvière, but I lived near the Place Mansart for a long time. Being among friends and living this collective moment is strong”, confided to us a member of the unofficial society “Gille et Jaune”, whose members were humorously distributing lemons instead of the traditional oranges.

The Laetare of La Louvière continues this Sunday with a fireworks display planned at 21:00 on the town square.

For the festivities of the next few days, a procession will leave from the Place Maugrétout, Rue Albert 1er, this Monday at 17:00, with more dances planned during a rondeau at the Place Mansart.

On Tuesday, the Gilles will go out and burn a part of their costumes for a ceremonial closing.

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