Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thurs 16 June - Sun 19 June: Re-doing Le Doudou

It's that time of year again. Time for the streets of Mons to become one, big, outdoor party, with food and drink stalls, music blaring from every direction, marching bands, men chanting and dancing arm-in-arm, torch processions, live bands in the Grand Place, followed by Sunday's main event: the slaying of the dragon by St George.

This year we managed to persuade a couple of friends to join us for the occasion and to experience first hand the partying and sheer craziness of this ancient festival, and to witness how Belgians "do" carnival.

Like last year, it was just as much fun with well over 100,000 people flocking to the city to enjoy the long weekend. I won't describe it all again as it was pretty much the same goings-on as last time. Highlights this year included dancing in the street to a mixture of French and Arabic music whilst drinking champagne, and on more than one occasion dodging the many showers that dogged, but didn't spoil, the weekend.

It was good to see it though through the eyes of non-honorary Belgians. It really is one of those things that has to be seen in order to be understood. For me, a year on into my Belgian adventure, it just makes perfect sense. People outside, together, knowing how to have a good time, not really taking anything too seriously. The latter is certainly true of life here in Belgium.

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