Every year, in late May or early June on the weekend before Trinity Sunday, Mons hosts the festival of the Doudou. Events kick off with a solemn ceremony on the Saturday, when the reliquary holding the remains of St Waudru is given to the city’s mayor. Locals flock into the Collegiate Church to sing their version of the Doudou folk song, which will continue for the rest of the week. On Sunday morning, the reliquary is processed around the town in a golden carriage – the Car d’Or – accompanied by a thousand-odd costumed participants, with everyone joining in to push the carriage back up the hill to the church with one huge shove: failure to get it there in one go will bring bad luck to one and all.
After the relics are safely back in the church, chaos erupts on the Grand-Place, with a battle between St George and the Dragon, known here as “Lumeçon”. St George and his thirty-eight helpers (all good men and true) slug it out with the dragon and his entourage (devils, the “Wild Men in the woods” and the “Men in White”). The crowd helps St George by pulling ribbons off the dragon’s tail as it whips through the air just above their heads, and inevitably, George and crew emerge victorious.