17/24.- Wallonia: Gilles de Binche


A Gilles costume is made up of a linen suit embroidered with heraldic lions and festooned with ribbons in the Belgian colors, red, yellow and black, and brilliant white lace collars and cuffs. They have straw-filled humps on the back and torso, carry a belt studded with bells, and are shod in wooden shoes, with which they perform a rythmic dance on the cobbled streets. Their headdress, the most remarkable feature of their costume, is a white cylinder surmounted by oistrich feathers. They are equipped with bundles of twigs ("ramons") and baskets of oranges which are thrown at the public. The Gilles belong to different companies, each of which gathers its members in an elaborate ritual, and all of which gather in the town hall square for a night of dancing by the light of fireworks.

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