Carnaval Bailleul 2020 02 25 111Carnaval Bailleul 2020 02 25 111
©Carnaval Bailleul 2020 02 25 111|Destination Coeur de Flandre
Carnival Experience

Carnival Experience

Outside, winter is in full swing.  The wind nips my cheeks. The sky is grey and low. But in the dead of winter, like many Flemish people, I feel like celebrating and my head is full of colours. Why? Because this week, it’s carnival!

The excitement of the preparations

I’ve been getting ready for several weeks. I have been creating my costume, its materials, its colours. Admittedly, I’m reusing my costume from last year for the most part: the thick fur coat, the multicolour badges, the fluorescent boa. And every year, I add some extra bits. You see here, I sewed on the Lion de Flandre badge last year. This year, I’m pinning on some new radiant badges and a few feathers. All this preparation gets me in the mood for carnival. I have the music in my head and some party memories come back to me. I’m counting down the days until the key moment!

The reunions of the first day

It’s here! It’s the big day! Whether it’s the early morning in Cassel or the release of Gargantua in Bailleul, the impatience is the same. I spruce myself up, put make-up on and finally put on my costume that I’ve spent so long working on. Outside, I brace the weather and go to meet my friends. It’s so good to see each other again! I can hear the singing in the streets. Other carnival goers join us. My eyes are filled with wonder before all these colours. Some costumes are funny, others are super well-made. It’s a sight to behold. I can feel the joy of the carnival, it’s so present amongst us that it’s tangible! In the streets, everyone dances and celebrates in a wave of confetti.

The emotion of the last celebrations

During these carnival days, I saw giants dancing, Flemish people signing in unison, glasses being emptied, and friendships being created. I saw my friends happy. I saw myself happy. During these carnival days, I experienced Flemish conviviality at its peak. But all good things come to an end, and tonight, the giants are going home. The Flemish people will put their costumes away. The glasses will be taken away. We will experience our last moments of celebration and rowdiness with emotion. We know that we will have to wait a year before experiencing the joy of carnival again. Full of memories, with songs still ringing within us, we are packed with emotion to keep us going until next time!