Le Rigodon - Famille Gayant - Douai - Douaisis (c) ADLangletLe Rigodon - Famille Gayant - Douai - Douaisis (c) ADLanglet

Fêtes de Gayant : welcome to the giants !

Can you hear the clamour of the crowd and the rolling of drums ? Can you see, in the distance, these wicker and fabric giants, seemingly straight out of a children’s story? Every year, the Gayant Festival attracts young and old to celebrate as they should: parades, concerts, shows… and the famous giants are at the party !

Fêtes de Gayant: history and legend

Eight and a half metres high and weighing 370 kilos… Mr Gayant is a giant amongst giants!

With his wife, Marie Cagenon, and their three children, Jacquot, Fillon and Binbin, these are the figureheads of an incredible parade which, for almost half a millennium, has been the pride of Douaisians. In 1479, thanks to the protection of Saint Maurand, Douai repelled the French royal troops who had come to conquer the town, which was then under the control of the Count of Flanders. Since then, an annual procession celebrates this victory. The pair of giants first appeared in 1530 and have never ceased to draw crowds ever since. In 2004, the Gayant (‘giant’ in the Picardy patois) festivals were even classified as part of the intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO !

Every first Sunday following the 5th of July, the Gayant family, are the centrepiece of a vibrant, passionate parade through the streets of. This procession is the heart of two weeks of festivities, during which traditional games, activities for young people (such as the Binbins Festival), concerts, shows and exhibitions follow one another. For all ages, the magic happens… characters in costumes, musicians, dancers, and giants from here and elsewhere put on a show to the sound of the brass band, to the delight of all !

Between historical tradition and popular entertainment, the Gayant Festivals bring together children and adults in a whirlwind of colour and good humour. See you on 9 July, 2023, for the biggest event of them all !