Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ducasse d'Ath part 1

Summer is the high season for local towns to hold their ducasse.  There is no direct translation from French to English of "ducasse."  They are unique to northern France and this part of Belgium.  A ducasse is probably best described as a centuries old religious festival combined with folklore and over the years has lost the religious aspects and gained beer.

A ducasse is a multi-day event with the more spectacular moments occurring on the weekends - parades, re-enactments and/or fireworks.

The Ducasse d'Ath began yesterday.  It's religious anchor is David and Goliath, but as we'll explore tomorrow, David has little to do with it.

Today I'll just give you a sense of the atmosphere.  The Ducasse d'Ath has been taking place in some form or another since the end of the 14th century.  Some forms of the ducasse do reflect its age - narrow streets and older buildings.  Some forms are more modern - the street fair amusement park rides and food stands.

The ducasse is a big deal for the local community there are posters everywhere and the flags of the city were flying everywhere - purple, yellow and white.

The events are well covered by local television.   Several camera men wandered the streets.  There was a special camera on a crane to get above the crowd.  At some points we had to be careful not to trip over sound cables running along the street.

To get into the festival mood, we were given ample opportunity to purchase a ducasse necklace.  They could be purchased in varying thicknesses.  Some came with whistles so you could really annoy the people around you.  Many people bought them, so look for them in the photos I'll share tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. It is so cool to watch your European adventure! Thank you for sharing with one whose life is so, so local.