Saturday, 18 June 2011

Belgium, Binche, Carnival and Belly dance

Our nearest town Monts-sur-Guesnes, France is twinned with Momignies, Belgium.  10 years ago a twinning was set up between the two towns and ever since visits have been exchanged. One year France, the next Belgium.

This year I went on the trip with my son and 35 other people. We travelled on thursday, arriving about 5pm at Momignies, to a welcome of Belgian beer and Belgian cheese.  All the French were introduced to their host families who they were staying with for the next 3 days.

Gilbert was our host, he lives with his dog, Charlie and was so happy to meet us and show us his town.

Friday morning the whole group travelled to Binche which is famous for its carnival musee du masque is devoted to the history of the carnival which goes back hundreds of years.  The people of Binche live for this 3 day carnival. Preparation for the next years carnival starts immediately after the finishing day this year. The costumes are hired now, before they were hand made and all slightly different, have a look at the video.

The carnival is for the men only, all identically dressed and they go from house to house chasing away winter and welcoming spring.  Brilliant.  The museum has masks and costumes from all round the world. I wish we had had a little longer to look at all the exhibits, but there is always next time.

Friday night we had our first group dinner. As teacher of the bellydance group, Dance a Guesnes (pronounced dance again) we were invited to dance during the meal.

6 of our group of 15 came on the trip and we performed 8 dances which we have learned over the past 5 years together.  At the end of the meal we invited all the diners to join in - it was great.