Last Sunday afternoon I drove to Binche, located about an hour south of Brussels, looking for the illustrious Gilles who make the carnival there so very special. Was I disappointed not to find them anywhere! I learned that they appear mostly on Tuesday, the actual mardi gras, or maybe Sunday late at night.
I photographed a poster in a window in Binche to show you what a Gille looks like with his colorful outfit, wax mask and hat that stretches high up in the air with white ostrich plumes. The Gilles carry baskets of oranges they throw to the public as they march. Local businesses and residents protect their doors and windows because the orange throwing can get rather vigorous at times. The inhabitants of Binche also dress in costumes and dance relentlessly around the town to what seems to be a never ending beating of drums in a special Binche rhythm. You have to be there to fully appreciate it.