Carnival Time in Belgium

Aalst Carnival 2012

We have all heard of Carnival in Rio and in Venice but these are not the only cities who celebrate at this time of year. Many other towns and cities across the world go a little crazy during the carnival season too. Many have colorful parades with fantastic costumes and elaborately decorated floats and wagons. During the dark days of winter it is a great opportunity for people to literally let their hair down and join in the festivities.

Carnival Participants Belgium

Carnival is celebrated each year in Belgium too, and one of the biggest and best in the whole country takes place in the town of Aalst in East Flanders. Each year a huge parade winds it’s way through the streets of the town to the delight of the thousands of spectators, who turn up to watch each year regardless of the weather!

Carnival Aalst, Belgium, 2014

The parade begins in the afternoon, but the last groups are still moving after dark so they have the added attraction of using light to great effect on their floats and costumes.

Illuminated Carnival Float

Many people have heard of the Gilles from Binche, but Aalst has its own ‘Gilles’ too, decked out in their distinctive ostrich feather head dress.

Carnival Belgium: Aalsterse Gilles

It is certainly a unique spectacle in Flanders and one which provides a number of photographic opportunities for amateurs and pros alike. As I already stated carnival happens in many different parts of the world just before the beginning of ‘Lent’. Now is the time to see if there is a parade or festivities local to you, in your part of the world.

Carnival 2014, Aalst

This year (2017) Aalst carnival (which is a UNESCO recognized event of Intangible Cultural Heritage) takes place from Sunday 26th February, with 3 days of madness and mayhem. Fingers crossed for dry weather and plenty of new photo opportunities.

Aalst Carnival 2012

Photo credits: Imladris.

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February 09, 2017


Go for it Hel080808, I look forward to reading the blog!

February 07, 2017


Really funny parade and great photos! You inspired me to create a blog from street carnival in Dusseldorf.

February 06, 2017


Thanks for the positive feedback Valevvicki

February 06, 2017


Such interesting photos. The costumes are very detailed and colourful. You have captured the 'feeling' of the parade very well.

February 05, 2017


Looks like a lot of fun, I hope the weather is good.

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