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limoux carnival

Having run since January 3rd and continuing
through to March 13th, the Limoux Carnival is the longest in the world,
with the fun underway every weekend for the two-month period.

On the Saturdays and Sundays as well as on Shrove Tuesday
(Mardi Gras), approximately 30 groups of entertainers take to the streets for
vibrant processions three times a day, at 11am, at 5pm and at 10pm.  

During each display, the procession begins
with a series of musicians, known as ?los fecos?, and dancers dressed as
pierrot. These dancers put on an entertaining show to the music, waltzing from
one side to the other beneath the medieval arcades of the Republic Square,
tossing confetti out into the crowds and brandishing a carabena (ribboned reed)
as they go. This extravagant display of song and dance is then followed by a
group of people known as ?goudils?, wearing distinctive masks, who join up with
musicians and spectators alike to give impromptu performances.

The very end of the carnival concludes with the Night of the
Blanquette, an event not to be missed, when the parade is larger than ever and
the local sparkling Limoux wine flows incessantly, leading to a party in the
streets that goes on all night long.

Limoux Carnival dates back as far as the 14th
century, its origins coming from when millers would celebrate the payment of
their taxes to the local monastery on Shrove Tuesday. The traditions of today?s
carnival are over 400 years old, passed down from generation to generation,
with the performances still performed in Occitan, an ancient French dialect
widely spoken in the 16th century.

If you?d like to immerse yourself in a centuries-old French
tradition, be sure to book a stay at one of our villas in Languedoc before the
carnival draws to a close.

Image: Jeanbarje,
available under Creative Commons

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