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AALST, BELGIUM - FEB-1-2007 - Piet Verschelden , of the Krejeis team, works on a float for the Carnival of Aalst. The carnival of Aalst, celebrated every year in February, is one of the oldest and most famous in Flanders. It is locally called Vastenavond (Mardi Gras). During the carnival, thousands of people, most of them masked, dance in the streets of the city. The carnival is announced in the beginning of January with the Magi's Festival; a few weeks later, the Prince of the carnival is elected. On carnival's Saturday, the Mayor of the city gives full power to the Prince, who rules the city for the rest of the carnival. On Sunday afternoon, some 70 masked and costumed groups, all from Aalst, parade through the city on elaborate floats. The floats and the masks change every year as they reflect current events and take weeks to prepare. The parade is led by a pair of giants that represent the town and the "Ros Balatum" (the Balatum horse). The cortege parades again on Monday after the Onion Throwing ceremony. On Tuesday, Mardi Gras (by tradition, the day before Ash Wednesday), is known as the day of the 'Voil Jeannetten' (literally: "the Dirty Jennies"), where men dressed like big-breasted women holding ludicrous objects entertain the crowd. In the evening, the carnival mannequin is burned on the Great Square and official order is restored to the city.(PHOTO © JOCK FISTICK)
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PHOTO © 2007 JOCK FISTICK
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AALST, BELGIUM - FEB-1-2007 - Piet Verschelden , of the Krejeis team, works on a float for the Carnival of Aalst. The carnival of Aalst, celebrated every year in February, is one of the oldest and most famous in Flanders. It is locally called Vastenavond (Mardi Gras). During the carnival, thousands of people, most of them masked, dance in the streets of the city. The carnival is announced in the beginning of January with the Magi's Festival; a few weeks later, the Prince of the carnival is elected. On carnival's Saturday, the Mayor of the city gives full power to the Prince, who rules the city for the rest of the carnival. On Sunday afternoon, some 70 masked and costumed groups, all from Aalst, parade through the city on elaborate floats. The floats and the masks change every year as they reflect current events and take weeks to prepare. The parade is led by a pair of giants that represent the town and the "Ros Balatum" (the Balatum horse). The cortege parades again on Monday after the Onion Throwing ceremony. On Tuesday, Mardi Gras (by tradition, the day before Ash Wednesday), is known as the day of the 'Voil Jeannetten' (literally: "the Dirty Jennies"),  where men dressed like big-breasted women holding ludicrous objects entertain the crowd. In the evening, the carnival mannequin is burned on the Great Square and official order is restored to the city.(PHOTO  © JOCK FISTICK)