Les Gilles du Centre, Binche, Belgium
Binche and le Centre du Hainaut own one of the oldest shrove customs and the most characterized of Wallonie.
Its fame goes beyond our borders and keeps fascinating a public from around the world.
Its reputation is justified because of the originality and authenticity of the customs which are still the same since the traditional shrove days and the strong commitment from the family and carnival societies beginning of fall.
The origins of the Carnival of Binche and in Hainaut are still unclear. Historians and folkloric experts which have been studying the carnival for a half century remains restrained when it comes to the question since the lack of elements mentioning ‘Gille” before the XVIII century and the poor quality of the material proofs. If it was not enough legends states a mystical or historical character which have help to obscure the reality for far more fantastic or more romantic origins. One thing is sure is that the origins of this Carnival stay mysterious… (Christel Deliège).
The legend with the most success is the one of the Gille descendant from the Incas made up by a journalist by Adolphe Delmée in the XIX century. Those Incas would have appeared un costume during festivities organized by Marie from Hungary in 1549 to welcome her brother, Charles Quint and his nephew Philippe II. The inhabitants must have appreciated their exotic and colorful costume to perpetuate the procession in their own city. This hypothesis seduced and still seduced some actors of the Carnival of Binche because this gives them an historical aspect and quite flattering.