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The Gille’s wife

Office du Tourisme de Binche
Grand-Place 5
7130 Binche
Tel: 064/311.580
Fax: 064/339.029
Email: tourisme@binche.be

wife-gilleRaised in the Carnival overwhelming atmosphere, the inhabitants of Binche are devoted participants; from costumed characters to musicians or to the Gilles wives their commitment is felt as natural and spontaneous whatever their parts in the festivities.


Most of the time, the Gille’s wife is kept in the shadow of the Binche hero. Nevertheless the Gille wife is truly an essential companion; from private to public life. In the earliest months of the festivity, the Gille wife is already fully active taking care of the costumes as well as doing all kind of planning like for the soumonces (pre-carnival festivities) and the Carnival itself. Not really a spectator nor an actress, it is really during the ceremony that the Gille’s wife lives both her most obvious and ungrateful part from an unwarned spectator point of view. However, for the Gille’s wife the show does not stop in private life as it stops for the spectators or the Gille, she still has to take care of the chores back home like getting dinners ready, looking after the costumes or redoing the children make-up and finally washing up the dishes.

 


Finally, it is as her leading part in children education that the Gille’s wife get a central and essential role in the society of Binche.


Their missions are seen as crucial since they are the ones to raise the children in the traditions of Binche. They are the ones to teach them the dances, what is permitted and what is not during the Carnival, the dressing-up ceremonial of Gille and most of all - the love for Binche traditions and its carnival rituals. Their goal is obviously to get an unconditional and natural participation from the children.

 

 

(Christel Deliège)