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Binche boasts one of the oldest shrove customs, and the most recognisable in Wallonia.

Its fame extends far beyond our borders, fascinating people from all around the world. Its reputation is well deserved as the originality and authenticity of Binche's customs have been retained since shrovetide was originally celebrated thanks to the strong commitment of families and carnival societies from the beginning of each fall.

The origins behind the Carnival of Binche are still unclear. Historians and folklore experts have studied the carnival for half a century but struggle to find a clear answer due to the lack of mentions of the Gille before the 18th century as well as the poor quality of material evidence. If that wasn't enough, legend states that a mystical or historical character has helped to obscure the truth in favor of far more fantastic or romantic origins. One thing is for sure: the origins of the Carnival of Binche remain mysterious... (Christel Deliège)

The most prevalent legend is that the Gille descended from the Incas; this was proposed by journalist Adolphe Delmée in the 19th century. The Incas appeared in costume during festivities organized by Marie of Hungary in 1549 to welcome her brother, Charles V, and his nephew, Philippe II. The locals must have appreciated their exotic and colorful costumes to make the procession a continued custom in their own city. This quite flattering hypothesis still has a hold over some participants in the Carnival of Binche to this day as it provides historical context.

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