Aalst Carnival parade

I have lived in Belgium for almost 5 years now and never before have I seen Belgians party like I did at the Aalst Carnival 2013!

Such pride in their parade, the costumes, the dancing, the town decoration… and the carnival revellers were as superbly dressed for the occasion as much as the carnival performers.

The locals were more than happy to share their experiences with the foreign tourists and non Aalst Belgians alike; more the merrier is obviously the motto in Aalst this time of year!

Despite the freezing cold temperature, we stayed in merriment from the afternoon until the early hours of Sunday. My fingers were so numb I couldn’t always keep my camera steady but I kept on smiling and drinking the Belgian beer for warmth! Giedre and Dimitri, Migle, Oana and Emidio kept me warm in conversation 🙂

The Carnival Parade

If you have ever watched It’s a Knockout or Jeux Sans Frontières then you’ll understand what I mean by the grotesque fun that can be had by watching these spectacles and effigies. In a strange way they scare but mesmerize me!

I hope my photos do them justice (click photo to enlarge).

Aalst Carnival parade

Aalst Carnival parade

Aalst Carnival parade

Aalst Carnival parade

Aalst Carnival parade

Aalst Carnival parade

Aalst Carnival parade

Aalst Carnival parade

Aalst Carnival parade

Aalst Carnival parade (photo courtesy of Emidio)

Aalst Carnival parade

Aalst Carnival parade and revellers (photo couresty of Emidio)

Aalst Carnival parade (photo courtesy of Emidio)

Aalst Carnival artwork

The Carnival beer, food and dance!

In the ice-cold air, the welcoming smell of frites and aromas of coffee and beer drove me wild! Attracted to the neons, we decided to keep warm by dancing close with the local revellers! It wasn’t too long before I forgot my body was beyond numb and I was breathing frost!

Aalst Carnival neons

Aalst Carnival neons

Barman or wolf?

We found the locals to be very proud of their costumes and performances… here, G enjoys the overt flamboyance of the perfume lady! He had an array of perfumes in his bag and promenaded a soft toy dog on a leash. I tried not to dance on its tail….

Aalst Carnival revellers, G and perfume friend

Aalst Carnival reveller, M close up!

Aalst Carnival reveller, fellow photographer E close up!

My mask got to dance another day!

Aalst Carnival reveller, J close up! (photo courtesy of Emidio)

We can thank these guys for smearing us in glitter paint and dancing on our toes!

Aalst Carnival reveller

Aalst Carnival revellers, the glitter guys…

Aalst Carnival revellers, dancing to keep warm

We spent some time with these three guys who had created the most amazing costumes for themselves; the metalwork in their hats was just beautiful, as were their long faux fur white coats and their attention to detail in their make-up. They explained the importance of the Aalst carnival and how everyone loves to celebrate it. The last day of the carnival (Tuesday) will be a mixture of joy and tears, I was told, but then the locals start planning the 2014 carnival in summer so those tears won’t last for too long 😉

Aalst Carnival revellers

Aalst Carnival revellers, the creative designer and the shy redhead

Aalst Carnival revellers (G in blur!)

Aalst Carnival revellers, the colourful new dad and G in blur!

Aalst in the afternoon, heading to the Carnival by canal

I don’t think these photos show just how cold it was, but we did our best to smile anyway!

Heading to party! G, M and E (O hiding!)

Heading to party! G, M and E (O hiding! J taking pic!)

E and O looking for photo opportunities

Aalst bike stand

Aalst bike stand

Originally published: Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 at 13:08 in Living matter, Monologues


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7 Responses to “What fun at the Aalst Carnival 2013!”

  1. Emidio says:

    This is the carnival in Viareggio (Tuscany):


    where the statues are 3 times bigger 🙂

  2. Emidio says:

    and this one in Putignano (Bari – Puglia, my region):

  3. Gabi says:

    Sooooo cool!!!!
    I love your mask, it’s gorgeous!!!!


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