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For the last sixty years, the city of Ypres in Belgium has held a popular “Cat Parade” that draws visitors from around the country. Kattenstoet, or the “Festival of the Cats”, is held once every three years and consist chiefly of parades featuring giant cat effigies, brass bands, marchers and people riding on horseback. Revelers dress themselves as cats, witches or mice and march through the town to the cheer of large crowds of people who turn out on the streets. While it’s all gay and merry now, the origins of Kattenstoet is much darker.

kattenstoet-ypres-5

Photo credit: Rostyslav Kudlak/Flickr

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