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The Giants of Ath

Ath Travel Blog

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La Ducasse d'Ath. David and Goliath
It was a beautiful day so we set out with friends to visit la Duccase d'Ath, the Giant Festival of Ath. Everyone in Ath seemed to be outside for the festival and the wonderful weather (although there did not appear to be many, if any, tourists, with empty trains going in and out). A typical fair ground filled up the central square and copious amounts of festival beer were being sold.

It was a beautiful day to be enjoying a festival, although the whole thing seemed to go over our heads. There was a giant Goliath and another giant (she didn't have a name, so I'll just call her Goliath's wife) and they started at the town hall and then danced their way to the Church. Everyone yelled and cheered (and have a 12 gun salute) whenever they kissed, then they all packed into the Church for a long and official wedding ceremony, a process which took around four hours.
La Ducasse d'Ath. Goliath and his wife with Magnon and the wild men.
Every person of significance in Ath came and had their photos taken with Goliath and his wife. Several families in Ath (descended from mill workers) have responsibility for carrying the giants, taking shifts to twirl inside the large heavy costumes. 

Then along with Goliath and his wife there were a few additional characters of no clear function. There was "Magnon", a devil character with inflated pig's bladders, two "wild men" dressed up in green leaves, and two "horse-vamps" (men dressed up as men on horses). There was also a little boy with red ribbons on his white outfit, which we later figured out was David.

After the wedding everyone celebrated and the giants danced and twirled their way back to the town hall with thunderous applause. Then the little boy David stepped out, threw a rock at Goliath killing him, and everyone clapped even more and left. Such fickle people from Ath, seeming so fond of Goliath and his wife, celebrating their marriage, and then applauding the loutish David who killed Goliath on his wedding day for no particular reason. Huh. 
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David and Goliath - with a twist
La Ducasse d'Ath is a world heritage listed festival that is held every year in Ath on the fourth Sunday of August (but the most interesting events ar… read entire review
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photo by: Adrian_Liston