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How is the Carnival celebrated in Belgium and Argentina?

How is carnival celebrated in other countries? Does Carnival exist everywhere?

Our ambassadors explain how they celebrate this event and the cultural differences between Luxembourg and their own countries. Today, Dominique (Belgium) and Natalia (Argentina) tell us about their Carnival traditions.

In Belgium

As a Belgian, the Carnival is a real institution and a popular festival for all the family at such an extent that a Museum (International Carnival and Mask Museum) is devoted to that in Binche, the cradle of the Belgian Carnival.

It is called differently depending on the region in which you live in Belgium : the Cwarmê of Malmedy in the Eastern townships, the Laetare of Stavelot with the traditional Blancs Moussis or the cavalcade, just like in the Grand Duchy.

The most famous one and the one that has cradled my youth remains the Binche Carnival, recognized by the UNESCO as a masterpiece of the heritage of humanity, and where I went each year, as I was a little child, trying to dodge the blood oranges that one can accidentally get, thrown into the crowd by the traditional Gilles de Binche. In Belgium, the Carnival lasts 4 days. It begins on Shrove Sunday and ends - reaching its peak - on the Fat Tuesday, a feast day when floats and dressed up young and old processions go around the city, before a crowd that comes to admire them, ending in the evening by the inevitable "burning of the Gilles bumps."

Dominique Bissot,
Belgian Ambassador for the Just Arrived Ambassadors Club and Kids Agenda founder

In Argentina

I have to tell you that the shock of my first Carnival in Luxembourg began with temperatures... At home, between 35°C - 40°C, and here we may be far below 0°C.

Just as it is doing here, in Argentina, depending on the regions and cities, there are more or less celebrations. For example, in Buenos Aires, where I have been raised, the panic was to get out of the house and come back with dry clothes, because children have fun throwing balloons filled with water, especially to the girls... that’s rather an issue of panic when you have to go to work or to an important appointment... (A piece of advice : always take extra clothes with you, and have fun!).

The Carnival of Gualeguaychú is more in the same style as it is here, it is a province of Entre Ríos, and I always saw it on TV, there are parades there, and "comparsas" with very beautiful women (very little dressed, in the Brazilian way) and handsome guys, who parade and dance to the rhythm of the Carnival.

Some areas from the north-east of Argentina, in the province of Jujuy for example, in the "Quebrada de Humahuaca", what is most important in the Carnival ceremonies are the excavation and burial of the "Pujllay" Devil's Carnival, represented by a doll which symbolizes the release of repressed desires. It is therefore a kind of feast and lust god. During the Carnival, everyone can be "Pujllay" (which means game, dance, joy).

Argentina is very wide, and so are the ways to enjoy the Carnival, and with the good weather, the festivities can even last for weeks, with the same glamour of our neighboring country carnival : Brazil.

Natalia Boffi,
Argentine Ambassador for the the Just Arrived Ambassadors Club
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