Limoux Carnival 2016

Masks performing in Limoux central square
Masks performing in Limoux’s central square

The Limoux Carnival, the self declared longest carnival in the world was shorter this year; it just ended on March 13th and did not last as usual until the middle of April: the rule is that the carnival has to end in the Sunday before the Palm Sunday.
Year after year this …400 year tradition brings scores of viewers who fill the little arcade bordered square of the center of Limoux and passing their time between the scheduled parades sipping a glass of the local famous white sparking wine “Blanquette de Limoux” or… a cup of coffee in one of the numerous bars but most significantly enjoying the local traditional sweet delights: the “nougat” and the “tap” of Limoux.
Since I’ve already written two articles on the Carnival of Limoux, “Limoux Carnival 2015 in Pictures” and “Limoux – The Longest Carnival in the World!“, this year I will add only some notes about the musical bands that accompany the masks.
The bands include around 15 musicians and their music gives rhythm to the masks slow gestures. The Carnival of Limoux band in itself is a highly organized entity. There are around 30 bands that take part in the carnival. Each one represents a district of the town, a business branch etc.; their player’s selection process is strict and each member has to be accepted in unanimity by the rest of the band. During each outing groups of three musicians take turns to lead the rest of the band: in their temporary leading roles being called “les meneurs”. There are also three other members of the band that precede the meneurs. They are called “païchères” and they make sure that the band can advance.
The band member’s attire is in the traditional Occitan colors of red and black.
What brings me (and I am sure other people) every year to the carnival is its subtle yet strict rule frame that have been holding now for many centuries, a pure form of regional folklore experience.

Masks dancing under the arcades
Masks dancing under the arcades

Masks dancing and throwing confetti
Masks dancing and throwing confetti (from the pink bags)

Mask holding the so called carabena
Mask holding the so called carabena

Band playing
Band playing

Tuba Player
Tuba Player

Young band members playing trumpet
Young band members playing trumpet

The so called Goudils
The so called Goudils are masks that come after the band

Nougat de Limoux
Nougat de Limoux

Limoux Cathedral
Limoux Cathedral is situated on the banks of Aude River
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