Our sympathetic group is composed of a dozen of men and women from 7 to 77 years old. We love our folklore and are very keen to share it with our spectators. We are proud now to have drum and flute players to accompany us and make our spectales and parades more lively.
Here's a photo of our group at the last Europeades at Helsingborg (Sweden).
Since several centuries, flag playing/waving has been part of the very rich folk tradition of Namur, the capital city of the french-speaking Walloon Region of Belgium.
Flag playing or waving has a military origin. Our playing technique, as practised in Namur, probably comes from Spain, as the name "ALFER", given to flag players or wavers in Namur, indicates; "Alférez" in spanish, refers to the ensign-bearer officer. The flag-playing techniques would have been introduced into our region during the Spanish period (1555-1715), either by Spanish soldiers garrisoned in Namur, or by veteran soldiers of the Walloon Guards in the service of the Spanish kings.
On the battle field, orders were given by movements of the flag. And so, gradually the habit of playing flag during official ceremonies was increasingly adopted. It is this flag-playing tradition, of Spanish origin, heritage of our past, that the "Alfers" of Namur aim to perpetuate.
This historical timeline starts from the first known picture of an Alfer (1502)
until the disapearance of the military practice of flagwaving supposedly in XIX century when drum majors began to take this role.
Flagwaving is an exceptional play. Nowadays it's performed by several Alfers in
XVII's century costume on traditional music of the same period. Traditional flagwaving in Namur is played with big flags and doesn't include to throw the flags like in Italian Flagwaving.
However, since 2007, we have developed a second play during which the flags are thrown in different ways. We can say that this art still has a bright future.