The Tournai carnival had not chased away winter in the streets of the city center since its 2019 edition. Like a snub to the health crisis, this great event of popular jubilation took its revenge, once again activating the cogs of the Mechanics of Time (Editor’s note: in reference to the theme of the 2020 carnival which had to be cancelled).
The “masquerade”, name given to the parade of incredible density, kept all its promises this Saturday afternoon by draining the large crowd. At a time when the various actors in the procession, who had set off from the streets of Les Maux, Saint-Piat and Royale, found themselves near the Naïade, it was very difficult to make your way among the thousands of spectators. .
As for the atmosphere, the public was served with around twenty floats, lively music and members of over-excited brotherhoods. As tradition dictates, the freshly revamped Naiad was treated to a tribute, paid by the Devils (and their bandas), this time accompanied by a large delegation from the brotherhood of Manneken Pis to whom the people of Tournai had offered a costume in 2021.
Other highlights further enhanced the day, such as the other traditional tribute, to Pichou Saint-Piat that one, the throwing of candies at Place Paul-Émile Janson and of Pichous (small buns) exceptionally from the balcony du Carillon, as the belfry is still under construction.
The cremation of the Carnival King at Place Astrid, the funeral march by torchlight, the ashes entrusted to the Scheldt, the farewell song, the fireworks followed by the sad waltz, constituted a very strong finale for this day finally finding its marks in the calendar.
In the evening, for those who still had energy, the grand ball of the Mécaniques du Temps, under the marquee of the Grand-Place, saw several DJs make young and adult audiences dance.
Sunday, between 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., still under the marquee, the Bal à fond will be in full swing and delight young carnival-goers with a musical show, a party and even a snack.
What we do not really measure is the extent to which the carnival has profoundly changed the image of Tournai, and the representation that we had of it… of a city that was a bit stuffy and on its self.