Sunday, June 10, 2007
The remainder of the trip to Belgium was spent in the southern part of the country where we attended the "Doudou" in the midieval city Mons. Le Doudou is a festival held in this city for the last 658 years commemorating Saint Georges. The festival lasts for 6 days during which hundreds of thousands of people crowd the small streets of the city and drink large quantities of beer.
There are several different traditional celebrations during the six days, but the biggest focus of the festival is on Sunday, with a procession through the city culminating in the reenactment of the fight between Saint Georges and the dragon.
The procession includes many religious icons and ends with a golden carriage. The carriage must make it to the top of the hill beside the church, otherwise it is very bad luck for the city. Thousands of people run behind the carriage at this last part of the procession in order to help make sure it makes it to the top. Prior to the arrrival of the carriage, young men practice pushing against the wall of the church in order to get in shape for the final push of the carriage.
The Dragon has a tail made out of horse hair and it is considered lucky to pull some hair from the tail. Large numbers of young men crowd around the fight area to try to catch some of the tail.
Et voila, la queue!