Ducasse of Ath - Vespers, Gouyasse and the Procession of the Giants
The Ducasse of Ath is a UNESCO Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity which takes place on the 4th weekend of August.
The ducasse (fair) dates back to the 15th century and stages the famous giants of Ath. One of these giants is no other than the renowned Gouyasse (Goliath), who is the king of the festival. After having taken his pretty fiancée to the altar of St Julien's Church to get married, he fights the tiny David in the afternoon. After the battle, it is time for the tasting of the traditional "mastelles" tart - also known as "Gouyasse" (macaroon and almond tart).
The following day the spectacular traditional procession will take place in Ath, featuring the town's seven traditional giants, along with mythological floats and a multitude of different groups. A real crowd puller.
The Giants from Ath were recognized as an Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.
Moreover, Ath has been named a tourist destination of excellence by the EDEN competition (European Commission) for its intangible and sustainable tourism in 2009.
3pm: The Giant Tirant emerges.
4pm: The Grand Prix de Mayer archery on the Esplanade.
7.30pm: Lagriguette performing in concert.
10pm: Burning of Goliath's trousers.
12pm: Ringing of "Juliette", the big bell of the St. Julien church.
12.15pm: Carillon concert.
3pm: Goliath and his wife are escorted by "Les Bleus" group to St. Julien church, where Vêpres Gouyasse is celebrated.
4.45pm: The couple return to the town hall, where David confronts the Philistine giant.
5.40pm: Carillon concert.
8pm: Traditional Ducasse concert by the Saint Martin Brass Band.
9pm: Mont Canon canon walks through the streets.
8.30am: Carillon concert.
9.45am: Procession of 7 giants, 8 floats and groups.
3.30pm: Carillon concert.
In the morning, the giants walk through the town with their holders to receive donations.
3pm: Guided carriage-rides through the historical centre of Ath.
5pm: Show on the Esplanade and a parade of mini giants.
6pm: Hot-air balloon flights.
Large evening market closing at midnight.
4pm: Carillon concert.
Tourist information on the town ATH