The walloon Cwarmê
A centuries-old tradition is upheld in Malmedy during the three carnival days leading up to Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday).
During the preceding Thursdays ("les p’tites haguètes") some of the "petits rôles" (masked characters) go from bar to bar to "lawer" (make gentle fun of) the customers.
Two or three months before the carnival, music groups get together to practice new marches, composed in the light of theme chosen, the dressmakers make new costumes and the two male choral societies prepare their satirical comedies (les Rôles), telling about the mishaps of the Malmedy inhabitants, to be presented on mobile stages, on Monday afternoon.
On the Carnival's opening day, Saturday, the "Grosse Police" announce the arrival of the carnival, while the mayor hands his authority over to the "Trouv’lê". During the major carnival procession, on Sunday, the participants can admire over 2,000 characters wearing the traditional masks of the "Cwarmê ". The street carnival in which the spectators are often involved is definitely in a class of it own.
Monday, the day of the "roles", is mainly intended for the natives of Malmedy, while Shrove Tuesday sees the "Burning of the Haguète", signalling the end of the festivities.
It should be stressed that all the Cwarmê events are conducted in fascinatingly rich Walloon, a language to which the people of Malmedy are more attached than ever.
Welcome to "Cwarmê d’Mâm’dî"