1. Introduction of the group
For 150 years (and perhaps more), there have been in Fosses-La-Ville, a unique folk group in the world whose name is:
"Société Royale Les Chinels de Fosses-la-Ville"
This society is a member of the federation of “the folk Walloons group”. This federation was founded in 1928.
The Chinels perform in Fosses-La-Ville at half Lent for the “Laetare” and at the time of their trips in Belgium and all around the world.
2. The legend of the Chinels
In a time when people still believed in magic, a little kind hunchback who lived in Fosses went from house to house to sell his wares.
After a long day at work, he went home. It was so late that, when he passed by (called in French) “Pont de l’Allou”, he surprised some old witches during their Sabbath. To thank him for his helpfulness, they relieved him of his hunch.
The next morning when the other hunchback from the area – this one was evil and hostile – knew about that, he went to the woods around midnight to meet the witches. But when he came back, he had a second exaggerated hunch; one at the front and one at the back.
Carnival was nearing and the inhabitants of Fosses laughed at him. That’s the reason why the Chinel became the King of Carnival in Fosses.
3. History - Origin
In each civilisation, men’s malformations were the target of mockery.
In Roma, the man showed these malformations, he was named “Maccus”, he was playing in very popular spectacles.
His disguise and his name developed with the time.
Maccus became “Pullicenus”.
After the Renaissance, his name changed again “Pulcinella”.
Pulcinella of “Commedia dell’arte” came in French folklore.
Maccus Pullicenus Pulcinella Polichinelle
The costume of the « Doudou », the ancestor of the « Chinel » seems to originate from this character. And the name “Chinel” is a contraction of “Polichinelle”.
The “Chinels” bring a custom into honour, named “Rough joke” too.
The first and the most popular is the “Sabrage” a typical Walloon word that we can’t translate.
It consists of caressing the calf of a girl. The ancestors say that this action gives a year of luck.
And the second one, that has disappeared today, consisted of removing with the rear hump the cigar, cigarette or pipe of the lips of men.
5. The fabrication of the costume.
The unmissable thing of the Chinel is certainly his costume.
The costume of Chinel is made of satin and velvet trim with braid.
The Chinel wears a hat made of cardboard, satin and velvet trim with braid and with a plume of ostrich or plume of cock.
To make a Chinel’s costume, the maker needs more or less 100 hours of work.
6. Travels and Performances.
We often participate in different travels in Belgium but also in all Europe, once in Japan and two twice in USA.
We take place in a cavalcade or for opening of an important football play.
We had participated in the Disney Land Paris parade.
Here are some towns where Chinels had participated:
Brussels, Liége, Namur, Charleroi, Dinant, Nivelles, Gand, Mons, Waterloo, Stavelot, Bredenne, Malmédy, Ostende, Spa, Arlon, Chevetogne, Bastogne …
Many prestations in Nice, Paris, Orléans, Le Mont Dore, Annecy, Parthenay, Dax, Calais, Saumur, Boulogne sur Mer, Gruissan …
Verona, Capoua, Agrigente, San Remo, Erba.
Buchen, Salinger, Duisburg.
Amsterdam, Naarden, Leiden.
The USA (Louisiana):
New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma and Washington (LA).
In 1970, Osaka’s Universal exhibition.
We participated in many TVs shows like:
‘Chanson à la carte’, ‘A qui le gant’, ’ Tour de chance’, ‘Billet doux’, ‘Les jeunes solistes’, ‘Wallons nous’, ‘Double 7’.
‘Dimanche Martin’, ‘C’est votre vie’.
We also showed for:
For Joyeuses Entrées
For The Royal visit or the Japanese Emperor visit.
For The motor show in Brussels.