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Qu 'est-ce qu'une Marche? Ce n'est ni une procession ni un cortège civil ou militaire, mais un ensemble de tout cela: LA MARCHE.

From well-known celebrations of Carnival and la ducasse, to obscure saint commemorations, ritualized festivals and processionals in Francophone Belgium survive in popular memory and influence contemporary conceptions of local identity. Several St. Roch military marches in the l'Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse region in Wallonia received UNESCO recognition as examples of "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" in 2012. The annual, multi-day processionals involve hundreds of marchers from local communities dressed in Napoleonic-era military uniforms, carrying authentic muskets and escorting a statue of St. Roch. Many of these marchers trace family involvement back through multiple generations.

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This document was originally published in Journal of Belgian History by CegeSoma. Copyright restrictions may apply.