English

Blancs Moussis of Stavelot  

 

In Walloon dialect, “blanc moussi” signifies ‘wearing white’. The Fraternity of the “Blancs Moussis” is a folklore group of great notoriety established in Stavelot, a small town in Eastern Belgium (Liège Province). Through the ages they have become the emblematic figure of the town of Stavelot which was built on the banks of the river Amblève and greatly developed after the foundation of an abbey by Saint Remacle in the VIIth century AD. The abbey of Benedictine monks flourished and turned the small hamlet of Stavelot into an abbatial Principality which through the centuries gained a reputation of spiritual and artistic excellence.

Towards the end of the Middle Ages in Europe, the moral conduct of the clergy notoriously lapsed and the Stavelot monks, equally affected, regularly attended carnival festivities. The Prince Abbot took severe disciplinary sanctions against the offending monks and as a result, the people of Stavelot recalled the monks’ merry-making by wearing a cowl and scapula in imitation of the religious habits. The Abbot again intervened and outlawed the carnival gear but in defiance of this edict, the people of Stavelot chose as their carnival outfit a  white gown and a merry mask with a long red nose…. Thus were born the “Blancs Moussis” of Stavelot, around the year 1502.

The “Blancs Moussis” wear a stunning uniform of radiant white; their immaculate appearance is complemented by the utterance of a low growl, purposely neutral and indistinct. They do not speak but rumble with a guttural “Wah-Wah” sound. 

Beyond their appearance, the “Blancs Moussis” also have a typical character trait. They are irreverent, satirical and entertaining. They aim to bring in the spectators, to provoke a reaction and incite them to join the party. They are often provocative on purpose. On a belt they carry a bag of confetti with which they shower the spectators which they also taunt with pork bladders.

Folklore is a wonderful means to meet new people, to make discoveries, have exchanges and fraternise. The Fraternity of the Blancs Moussis with its 350 members promotes these values at international meetings. They have taken part in various events in France (Paris, Douai, Valenciennes, Saint-Quentin, Denain,…), Switzerland (Basel), Germany (Frankfurt, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hannover), Italy and China (Beijing in 2003 for a tourism festival and Shanghai in 2010 for the World Exhibition, specifically during the Belgian Day in the presence of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, the current King Philippe). Every time the Blancs Moussis created a surprise and enchanted several thousands of spectators with their confetti, miming and joyous parade.          

 The « Blancs Moussis » Brotherhood  from Stavelot has its own Honorary Knighthood, with a membership consisting of both Belgian and foreign personalities with political, economic, diplomatic and cultural backgrounds.  Among these international “Knights of Honor" we find:

enthroned on March 14, 2010:
- HE Mr. ZHANG Yuanyuan, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China
- HE Prof. Dr. Reinhard BETTZUEGE, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany
 
enthroned on April 3, 2011 :
- HE Mr.Howard W. GUTMAN, Ambassador of the United States
- HE Mr Arif Hawas OEGROSENO, Ambassador of Indonesia
- Lt. Gen. E. R. Frédéric VANDINGENEN, Honorary Marshal to the King


enthroned on March 18, 2012 :
- HE Mr. Louis LORIMIER, Ambassador of Canada
- HE Mr. JUN YOKOTA, Ambassador of Japan 
- HE Mr. Jonathan A. BRENTON, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain  and Northern Ireland                                                    
 
enthroned on March 10, 2013 :
- HE Prof. Dr. Eckart CUNTZ, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany
- HE Mr. KIM Chang - beom, Ambassador of Korea to Belgium and European Union
- HE Mr. Robert J. FAUCHER, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the USA

- Baron Paul BUYSSE, Chairman of the Board of Bekaert s.a. and Immobel s.a.

enthroned onMarch 30, 2014 :
- HE Mr.Mitsuo SAKABA, Ambassador of Japan

- HE Mr. Jean- Jacques WELFRING , Ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
- HE Mr. Ghislain d'HOOP, Ambassador of Belgium.

Among other personalities that preceded them, we find
- REYNDERS Didier, currently Belgian Vice PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs 
- WATHELET M., Minister of State, former Deputy Prime Minister and Min.of Justice
- GHISLAIN Charles (2006 ), currently Ambassador of  Belgium to Rome
- BLINKEN Alan, Honorary Ambassador of  USA in Belgium
- VAN MIERT Karel (†), Belgian, Honorary Member of the European Commission
- LAMBERTZ Karl- Heinz (2007), Minister-President of the German-speaking Community of Belgium
- H.E. GUAN Chenguyan (2007), Honorary Ambassador of the People 's Republic of China to the European Union
- H.E. RIPHAT Nadjib Kesoema (2008), Honorary Ambassador of Indonesia to Belgium.
 
 
The International fame, acquired by the Brotherhood of  the “Blancs Moussis of  Stavelot " over time, is illustrated by its participation in many cultural events abroad, and has made the town of Stavelot a worthy representative of Belgium, well beyond its borders.
 
 

Hereunder, please find our information: 

The Folkloric Brotherhood of the “Blancs Moussis asbl" Royal Society

Chemin du Château 1A,. B-4970 Stavelot (Belgium / Europe)
c.nezer@studybel.com ▪ www.blanc-moussi.com
Tel. +32 (0) 477 59 16 45