By Stéphanie Borrell-Verdu, USAG Benelux Public AffairsFebruary 8, 2018
CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- Carnival is deeply rooted in the Belgian culture. Even though the most famous is the one is in Binche, Belgium is also home to numerous other worth-visiting carnivals. Carnival is not only the perfect time to have fun, but it is also the perfect time to try some delicious regional specialities, such as the Baiser de Malmedy and the Pets-de-nonne. Just like every other Belgian celebration, Carnival is also a great time to have some of the best Belgian beers! Here is a list of the most famous Belgian Carnivals:
When: Feb. 10 to 13
Where: Place Albert I, 4960 Malmedy
The Carnival of Malmedy, also known as the "Cwarmê," has been recognized as Immaterial Heritage of the Wallonia-Brussels community and is spread into four days of fun. This year, Malmedy will celebrate its 560th edition! The celebrations start at 9 a.m. on Shrove Saturday with a parade of the "Grosse police" (fat police), but the Cwarmê reaches the main event at 2 p.m. on Shrove Sunday with all of the characters parading and dancing through the streets. The parade will start from Malmedy's "Place de Rome." The Huguètes, which are the principle characters of the Carnival, play a major role in the parade. They are then burned at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the "Place Abert 1er," marking the end of the Carnival.
Don't worry if you don't understand everything said during the Cwarmê as people will speak in a local Walloon dialect. It won't prevent you from enjoying the festival! For more information, visit www.malmedy.be/fr/Tourisme/folklore-et-carnaval/le-carnaval/programme-2018.html.
When: Feb. 15
Where: Esplanade du centre culturel, Rue Grande 37 5500, Dinant
The Carnival of Dinant is not as ancient as the others, its 12th edition will be held this year on Feb. 15. The "Guinguet," the "Cafonnette" and the "Cheval Bayard," the famous giants of Dinant, will start their parade at 2 p.m. at the Cultural Center of Dinant. The funniest part of the Carnival is that you can disguise yourself and take part in the wheel barrow decorating contest! For more information, call +32(0)82-710124.
When: Mar. 10 to 12
Where: Different streets in Stavelot
The 516th edition of the Carnival of Stavelot, also known as "The Laetare of Stavelot," will be held Mar. 10 to 12. This famous Carnival includes fireworks, confetti, light shows and other fun festivities! The most important day is Sunday. A huge parade involving more than 2,000 local participants and beautiful floats takes place at 2 p.m. and one of the biggest fireworks shows in the region is held at 9 p.m. The "Blanc moussis" are the traditional icons of the Carnival. They wear a white dress and don carrot-nosed masks, parodying 15th century monks who were forbidden from the Carnival. For more information, visit www.laetare-stavelot.be.
When: Mar. 9 to 11
Where: On different streets in Tournai (Place Crombez, Place de Lille, Rue de la Madeleine, Avenue des États-Unis)
What makes the Carnival of Tournai special is that it has a different theme each year. This year's theme will be "Drôle de biète" (weird creatures). The festival starts on Friday night with the Nuit des Intrigues, a light and sound show, but the Carnival itself starts on Saturday, with all the
different "brotherhoods" wearing magnificent costumes and parading through the streets of the city.
Children will enjoy the launch of balloons at 5 p.m. on Saturday and the throwing of Pichous, traditional biscuits, from the Belfry at 6 p.m. After the biscuits are thrown, the 'Carnival King' is burned, while children dance around a bonfire to the sound of drums. A masquerade is then held at the Halle aux Draps at 10 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, call +32(0)69-766526 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When: Mar. 11
Where: Different streets in Andenne
The Carnival of Andenne, also called The Carnival of Bears, was created in 1954 and celebrates the legend on a young boy who was rumored to have killed a bear that was terrorizing the city with his bare hands. During this event, more than 500 "bears," which have become the mascots of the town, parade through the streets of Andenne led by the giant bears Fonzi, Martin II and Martel. The parade starts at 2 p.m. and tons of confetti and sweets are thrown into the air.
The parade ends at the end of the afternoon at the "Place des Tilleuls," where the recently elected Carnival King and Queen throw hundreds of tiny toy bears from the balcony of the town hall. The Carnival of Andenne is a great event, especially for those with young children. For more information, email email@example.com.