Géants du Nord

Parade: les géants du Nord

Last weekend wildly dressed characters danced giddily through the streets of northern France. Yes, it was Pride in Lille – but over in Dunkirk, les géants du Nord took to the streets.

We were lucky enough to catch a bit of the former on Saturday and the whole of the latter on Sunday.

Géants du Nord

Les géants du Nord date back to the Middle Ages. These folkloric characters are thought to have been Portuguese originally, but their popularity spread to Spain.

Back then, this piece of northern France was part of the Spanish-ruled Netherlands, and with the Spanish influence came these giant characters.

Géants du Nord

The first one recorded in this part of the world was in 1530. It came from the town of Douai, 40km south of Lille.

If Sunday’s parade through Dunkirk is anything to go by, they are still popular today. They serve to represent various towns of northern France and of Belgium – and to bring together the people of the towns.

Each of the géants has a name and a history to go with it. They can also marry and have children, apparently. I didn’t ask how.

Géants du Nord

For us, they gave us an opportunity to visit Dunkirk. It’s a town we’ve never been into properly – we’ve merely passed through the ferry port.

Badly damaged in World War Two, it was rebuilt in the 1950s, which, to be honest, isn’t one of my favourite architectural periods. Sunday was the hottest, sunniest day of the year so far and I think we probably saw the town at its best.

However, I suspect that the people carrying the characters may have felt rather differently about the good weather, given the size and weight of the géants

This entry was published on Sat, 8 Jun 2019 at 09:16. It’s filed under Places and people and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

10 thoughts on “Parade: les géants du Nord

  1. This looks fabulous.D must have been in his element…. look giant PUPPETS! mmmmm

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! What a wonderful event. They look similar to, but smaller than the Nantes geants, who have visited Liverpool. Seeing them was electrifying and memorable. These look wonderful in their traditional costumes in the sunshine. I love these street events.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How fun that must have been but you are right…it must have been very hot for the participants.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. very nice. rather incredible that they go back almost 500 years……
    thank you for sunny photos and interesting piece of history

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: