Some of the Traditional Carnival Figures“Le Trouvlê”
He represents the seat of power for the town during the 4 days of the “CWARMÊ.”
His clothes are red (symbol of fire) and he wears a top hat for the opening ceremony. On the Saturday afternoon the town mayor presents him with the “Panûle” (brewer’s grain shovel).
“La Grosse Police”
In earlier times, the drummers of the guard drummed in the CWARMÊ and the police order. In 1920, for the first time, the caricature emerged that is called – in the local language – “La Grosse Police” (The Fat Police). The beginning of the festive period was announced with a bell – “Le clabot” The town crier used the bell right up into the 1950s.
There is no documentary proof to confirm the existence of the “Haguète” before the middle of the 19th Century. However, legend already talks about this mysterious figure much earlier.
The Haguète’s costume is made of velvet and decorated with satin and gold edgings. The mask has a hanging fringe with more fringes hanging from the sleeves and pants. Large multi-colored ostrich feathers decorate the hat.
The “Haguète” is armed with a so-called “hape-tchâr” (flesh-snatcher - a pair of wooden articulated tongs) that is used to grab the arms and legs of the onlookers and not let them go until they kneel and say they’re sorry in Walloon: “Pardon, Haguète, à l’cawe du ramon, dju nu l’f’rès jamês pus!“ (Forgive me, Haguète, I swear on the broomstick, I will never do it again!).
The “Sotê” is a legendary dwarf that lived once in the grottos of Bévercé, close to Malmedy. In return for some food the dwarves carried out various services for the population. During the festivities, the “Sotê” amble through the streets and tease the spectators with their long arms. This age-old figure was first mentioned in documents dating back to the middle of the 18th Century.
“Le Sâvadje Cayèt”
The “Sâvadje Cayèt” is a black African wearing a costume decorated with wooden shingles. The multi-colored, painted shingles rattle merrily when they bounce and jump against each other. The “Cayèt” are the shavings that fall when chopping wood, and in former times were used to decorate the dress. The “Sâvadje Cayèt” also wears bracelets and necklaces as well as a golden diadem decorated with small feathers. As a weapon, he carries a foam rubber club, with which he affectionately hits the spectators’ heads as he utters wild calls. He wears a black leotard under the rattling dress and a black frizzy wig to complete the masquerade.
Since the middle of the 18th Century, the “Hârlikin” (harlequin) – from the Italian “Commedia dell' Arte” - is represented in the Cwarmê, along with the figures of the Pierrot, Paillasse and Colombine.
The “Pièrot” in the Malmedy Cwarmê has always been dressed in a large white collar cloth that is decorated with large black buttons. He wears a large, white pointed hat, decorated also with the same kind of buttons.
The “Pièrot” shares out oranges and nuts, which are carried on a cart. When his pockets are empty, he falls down onto the ground. The children then drag him to the cart where the goods are stored and sing: “Pove Pièrot qui n'a pus dès djèyes!” (Poor Pièrot has no more nuts!)
The ‘long noses’ are ‘subversive’ groups of crazy revelers who try to bring a mad atmosphere onto the streets of the town. They move around in groups of six or seven in Indian file and look for a victim, whom they then imitate for a long time until the poor individual is made nervous and has to pay them a round of drinks.
The ‘long noses’ wear long, pointed pixie hats, masks with very long noses, blue smocks, red neckerchiefs and white pants. A clay pipe hangs out of the corner of their mouths. They are absolutely unrecognizable behind their masks.
The “long arms” emerged in the carnival for the first time in 1883. The figure represents a clown with a small top hat decorated with a peacock feather. Hidden inside the extra-long sleeves of their multi-colored tailcoats, they hold sticks with white gloves at the end.
The ‘long arms’ amuse themselves and the public by ruffling through the spectators’ hair with ‘the hands’ and swapping the spectators’ hats around.
The ‘long brooms’ appeared for the first time in the 1920s.
This costume resembles that of the ‘long arms.’ However, in place of the long arms they carry a broomstick about five meters long, whose end is made from the foliage of the broom shrub. It is decorated with a black, green and yellow band (i.e. in the colors of the town of Malmedy). This giant broom is used likewise to lift off the spectators’ hats and caps and to stroke the faces of guests standing at the windows on the first floor.
The “Boldjî” (baker) is dressed completely in white with a rigid baker’s cap and he is made up to have a fat belly and thick cheeks. Hard salt pretzels are stitched onto his clothes.
His ‘weapon’ is an enormous long paddle (normally used to slide bread out of the oven), with which he paws the ladies’ rears as if they were warm, round loaves of bread from the baking-oven.