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Folklore And Tradition

Saint-Roch Folkloric March in Thuin

Saint-Roch Folkloric March in Thuin
© OPT / J.P. Remy

On the 3rd weekend of May, come and celebrate Saint-Roch. The Thuin ramparts vibrate to the sounds of this UNESCO-listed folkloric march!

The origins of the Saint-Roch march in Thuin

A major part of the Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse marches, this military procession honours Saint-Roch, the patron saint of pilgrims, brotherhoods and corporations.

Originating during the catastrophic cholera epidemic that ravaged Thuin in 1866, this military march infatuates tourists. The procession is no less than 2000 marchers strong, the majority of whom march in Napoleonic era costumes.

How it happens

On Saturday evening, the whole town resounds with the echo of drumbeats while the townsfolk gather (from 8:30pm) on the ramparts of the upper town.

Around 9:30pm, the "campes" (large crackers arranged in a rosary) are fired. After the campes have been fired torches are distributed among the crowd and the famous torchlight procession sets off.

Sunday at 12:30pm the various procession societies regroup for their traditional procession at the place known as "Chant des Oiseaux", (Birdsong).

On Monday at around 9:15am, Saint-Roch mass is held. The Procession then gets together and sets off for "la maladrie".

Initially religious and then marked by the Napoleonic period, the marches evolved during the 20th century to become what they are today. Find out more about the Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse marches.

A guide to the marches

Every year from May to September, some 20,000 people put on their costumes and truly perpetrate the tradition. Each march has its own traditions, customs and rules. browse the calendar here.

UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

The Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse marches appear on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.


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We are not responsible for any changes in dates and/or programmes. Please contact the organiser prior to departure.