In the 14th Century, millers were said to have celebrated payment of their taxes to the Prouille Monastery, on a certain Shrove Tuesday. Since then, in Limoux although no procession, there is a vast coded comedy. The carnival is not so much a parade as a kind of dance, governed by rules handed down from father to son for the past 400 years. Masked players mingle with the crowd, joining up with spectators and musicians to give impromptu performances.
On Saturdays and Sundays in January, February and March, approximately 30 groups parade through the streets, taking turns. For each tour, the masked participants dance from one café to another under the Mediaeval arcades of the Republic Square. Arms raised, brandishing the “carabena” (a ribboned reed) and throwing confetti to the crowds, the dance revolves on a waltzing melody.
The day passes by, the fantastic is set up and the carnival booms, to only conclude on the “Night of the Blanquette”, the last day of the festival when this sparkling Limoux wine flows incessantly!