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Giants and men

Giants and men

They’re big, they’re made of wicker, wood, fabric, and papier mâché. They look like us. But more importantly, they bring us together! These giants reflect us, and this is why!

Through children’s eyes

All little Flemish boys and girls are sure about one thing. The most beautiful giant is the one in their village! Okay, maybe the one in granny and grandad’s village, too. Just take a look at the twinkling eyes of a child when the giants come out to understand how important they are to them. This mix of fascination, imagination, and joy is magical for little ones. But also for adults. Because, let’s be honest, we too have retained our childlike quality when we see Jean le Bûcheron or Henri le Douanier!

Bearing arms

Where there are giants, there are carriers. These men, hidden under the giants’ skirts, allow them to parade and dance. Such effort! Such hard work! Reuze Papa weighs over 90 kg. Tisje Tasje weighs 80 kg. Totor in Steenwerck weighs almost 120 kg. Imagine the narrowness, the heat under the giant. Only the carrier facing the window located in the skirt can see the road. The others follow and must keep pace. Careful, as the slightest slip-up could be fatal to the giant! Suddenly, the giant starts dancing. Carried by the rhythm, hypnotised by the movements, we forget that the carriers are making the giant dance. So, when you see how gracefully Belle Hélène dances, one can only be filled with wonder!

The makers’ hands

Giant making is a profession in itself. They give life, fabricate, shape. They draw the facial characteristics. They assemble the framework. They repair and restore. And, would you believe it, there is no age limit for this. We met Tom, a little boy from Winnezeele, knee-high to a grasshopper, who had already created his first giant at age 5!  This was in 2020, and he chose to represent a nurse to honour medical staff. His dad also makes giants, such as Eloi de Winnezeele, so it’s obvious who he gets it from. There is no doubt that things are in safe hands, and our beautiful giants will continue to dance!

C'est dit !

“My favorite giant? Reuze Papa! When I was little, I already came to the Cassel carnival with my father, who looked a bit like him! “.


Didier, Saint-Omer