Vive Le Carnaval


The carnaval season kicked in last week but the real festivities are just now starting to pop up all over Europe. On Sunday I head to the town of Stavelot, which I blogged about earlier, to check out the famous Blancs Moussis.


As soon as we pull up into the cobblestoned parking lot, I spot them in their white capes and long carrot noses darting back and forth from place to place.  I even get one of them to mug for the camera:


I’m excited! We walk back to the Abbey so I can retake some photos that had crashed earlier on my digicam:


The Tourism Information center is also located inside this abbey, and I have to tell you, go check out their restrooms if you come here. They are an amazing amalgamation of stones, rocks, cement and just cool modern design. Anyway, the line is too long there so I refrain from taking photos, but when I’m ready to build my dream house, I’m coming back here for inspiration.

Anyway, I’m halfway tempted to check out the 3 museums under this one roof but the blancs moussis I spy out of the corner of my eye from across the courtyard are making me insane. I want to hunt them down and see what mischief they are up to. The lady at the Information desk, however, sadly informs me that the carnival in Stavelot actually doesn’t happen till next Sunday. I’m one week too early. The good news, though, is that the parade in nearby Malmédy (which consists of four Cwarmê days of Grandes Haguètes) is probably just starting as we speak. We run to our car and head to the nearby village. As we cross the border, we see the crowds. Parking is a pain to find in the sloshy rain, but luckily, by the time we rush to the town center, I manage to squeeze on top of a ledge with the help of nice strangers.  

The first thing I see is a marching band in chinoiserie uniforms. The crowd is hopping to the music:


Behind and in front of each marching band there are people in all kinds of colorful uniforms. The clowns have the extra long arms to reach into the crowd and pet your heads or tickle your chins. Mostly they just sprinkle confetti all over you.


Here are some sights and sounds:



One of the funnier things is the long broomstick made of palm leaves that the clowns carry to reach deep into the crowd:


In fact, I get a “broomover” in my face at the very end of this video:



Amidst all the craziness, every so often you’d see a group of men in white pants and striped hats with the long carrot noses weaving in and out of the crowd. They are actually hard to catch on film but here they are:


There are also floats and all kinds of zaniness:


And finally, the oranges are out! The orange throwers are in white costumes with ruffled, layered collars:


Here’s a video of them throwing oranges my way. Persevere through the rough video and see if I catch an orange or not…vive le carnaval!




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