The giants of Saint-Omer


With its nine giants, Saint-Omer is no exception to the custom of the North, far from it! In recent years, the Audomaroise city has indeed seen the return of some of its symbols, which once disappeared, brought back to life thanks to the work of several associations and of course, enthusiasts.

The band at Batistin and Belle-Lyze

Batistin, because of his longevity, is certainly the most famous giant of Audomarois! Created in 1952 by the inhabitants of the free commune of Bachelin, it has entertained young and old at local events for over 60 years! Parading in his tractor-drawn boat, the likeable and mischievous gardener with a straw hat and pipe once doused crowds with water scented with lavender cologne. Batistin joined the family of carried giants in 2015 and now holds a market gardening knife and a cauliflower in his hands.

This great market gardener once had a Spanish companion, Belle-Lyze, created by the Audomaroise troop of Joyeux Drilles in 1956. But the beautiful Hispano-Lyzelloise disappeared mysteriously during the 70s… Before being recreated by the AFMA and baptized in 2013 ! Two years later, they formalized their union on the forecourt of the town hall.

Five new giants in 2015

Saint-Omer also experienced in 2015, thanks to the work of the neighborhood houses, a return of historic giants who disappeared in the 1940s. Mathurin, first of all, created in 1927 and went up in smoke in 1944, took its name from the jacquemart ringing formerly the hours at the top of the fortified gate of the Haut-Pont. The latter then paraded, from 1925 to 1940, in the company of Tutu the warrior, a Roman soldier who also disappeared. The third accomplice, Moule à pipes, once symbolized the Audomaroise clay pipe industry... The unfortunate was also destroyed during the Second World War... The three local figures, who came back to life in 2015, celebrated their baptism alongside Marie Grouette, who no longer needs to be introduced and Quinze hoods, a marginal Audomarois assassinated in 1908, in front of this nickname because of his many layers of clothing.

An eighth giant often in the game in Saint-Omer

Even if he was born in Saint-Martin-lez-Tatinghem, note the great presence in the Audomarois landscape of "Ch'tiot Henri". Made by the companions and volunteers of the Emmaus community, this tall bearded man of course represents the beloved Abbé Pierre.

Rosalie, the youngest born in 2019

Rosalie Hyacinthe, a character from the novel "these ladies with green hats", received her civil baptism on September 8, 2019. The latter, created by the Perpignan neighborhood center, is expanding the family of giants from Audomarois.

The Origin of the Northern Giants Tradition

Did you know ? It was in Portugal that the traces of the first giants, dating from the 1556th century, were discovered. The tradition quickly spread to Spain which, let us not forget, included in its empire, between 1714 and XNUMX, the Netherlands, including then, among others, Belgium, Holland and Nord-Pas-de- Calais! Since then, our territory has devoted a real cult to the giants, the "Gayants" or the "Reuzes", especially in Flanders where Tisje-Tasje, Belle-Hélène, Jean le Bucheron, Reuze-Papa and Reuze-Maman, among others, do not miss no festive occasion to twirl to the tune of the Reuzelied…

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