Carnival of the Laetare

Carnival of the Laetare

Weekend of Laetare Sunday (fourth Sunday of Lent)
Throughout the history of the Catholic Church, various communities designated the fourth Sunday of Lent, known as Laetare Sunday, as a day for carousing—a rare moment of joy in an otherwise somber season. Some believers view the party as a great motivator to persevere through the remainder of their Lent sacrifice. Stavelot, a municipality in the Walloon region of Belgium, developed its own peculiar tradition for this holiday: Carnival of the Laetare, or Carnival of the Blanc-Moussis (White Brethren) .
According to legend, the monks of the region joined the carnival celebration in the late 15th century. The local abbot-prince did not approve of the monks' participation, and in mocking rebellion, the people subsequently honored the monks by putting on habits themselves. To add fuel to the fire, they even added a laughing mask with a long red nose to the costume.
The many Blanc-Moussis who populate the festival still remain the central focus today. During the parade, which is held on Sunday, the costumed men stand on floats and shower the crowds with confetti and inflated pig bladders. Throughout the weekend, there are also live music performances and fireworks displays.
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