The 117th Nivelles carnival started on Saturday and will finish on Tuesday the 12th of March. The event is expected to bring 50,000 people to the city of Aclots. The Nivelles carnival is one of the most important events in Wallonia and has a unique particularity: it includes a real cavalcade (this year around 20 groups are involved) and a “gilles” cortege made up of more than 600 gilles and residents. These are divided into nine groups.
The main cortege will be on Sunday, but the Nivelles carnival festivities will last much longer than that. Celebrations organised a month and then two weeks before the carnival weekend, where gilles groups and residents head into town with their musicians. There will be a children’s carnival this Saturday, starting at the station. On Sunday, there will be a musical parade to take the gilles home, so Nivelles will have a carnival atmosphere early on.
The cavalcade will also include outside groups (Boncelles, Stavelot, Maubeuge, Malmedy, La Roche-en-Ardenne). It will leave Nivelles station at 2pm on Sunday. T-Chaplous from Chapelle-lez-Herlaimont will be honoured guests. The gilles cortege will start at 3.15pm.
The school carnival will take place between 2 and 3.30 on Monday. The traditional “Aclot carnival” will begin the night parade at 7.15pm. The carnival parades will take three routes through the town centre and meet on the Grand Place at 9pm. Tradition dictates that Nivelles residents who take part in the night carnival go out dressed up. The gilles will burn their parade contributions at their own bases.
On Tuesday, those left standing after the three days of partying will take part in the “Raclot” organised by the various Nivelles associations. There will then be fireworks at around 8pm.