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Festivals of Western Europe

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Author Topic: Festivals of Western Europe  (Read 3227 times)
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« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2009, 01:28:33 pm »

On Assumption Day (August 15) priests in some other parts of the province bless kruidjes, or bouquets made up of nine different kinds of flowers. Pious peasants preserve these bouquets throughout the year. At the approach of a bad storm they pull off a few flower petals and toss them into the fire, as everyone kneels and recites the opening lines of the Gospel according to Saint John.

LES VEPRES DE GOUYASSE (Marriage of Goliath), in Ath, province of Hainaut

    Practically every Belgian town and village has its giants, which are paraded through the streets on special occasions during the year. The annual wedding of Goliath, at Ath, is one of the most spectacular of these affairs. Many of the towering figures, which measure upwards of twenty feet, represent various biblical, historical or legendary characters. A man walks inside the figure, a peephole in front allowing him to get air, as well as to look out and see where he is going.

    Ath boasts many giants, which appear on different occasions. On the Saturday before the fourth Sunday in August the great event is the procession of Goliath, who, for centuries, has been the town's patron and protector. Goliath, wearing helmet and breastplate and carrying a mighty club, is accompanied to the Church of Saint Julien by Madame Goliath, who has long black tresses adorned with orange blossoms. The bride and bridegroom are escorted by other giants, including Samson bearing a broken column, a figure representing Mademoiselle Victoire, in gold crown and voluminous cape, and a hideous, mustachioed Ambiorix.

    In 1461 in the procession known as that of Saint Julien, a giant figure was introduced for the first time. As the years went by other figures were added from time to time by various local guilds. Among other characters there was the symbolic one Tiran, or Tyrant, who may have represented Ambiorix, leader of a Gaulish tribe.
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