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Festivals of Western Europe

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Author Topic: Festivals of Western Europe  (Read 3227 times)
Perseus
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« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2009, 01:29:10 pm »

SINT HUBERTUS VAN LUIK or SAINT HUBERT DE LIEGE (Saint Hubert of Liege), in St.-Hubert, province of Luxemburg November 3

    Saint Hubert, patron of dogs, the chase, and victims of hydrophobia, is especially honored in the Ardennes, where he is said to have experienced a miraculous vision. On his feast day people throughout the forest area near the little town of St.-Hubert bring their dogs to the Church of Saint Hubert for the priest to bless and sprinkle with holy water.

    The custom originated in a seventh-century legend about Hubert, a pleasure-loving, profligate young nobleman who devoted himself to the chase, to complete neglect of all church festivals. One Good Friday, when hunting in the Ardennes, he suddenly saw a pure white stag, with an illumined crucifix gleaming between his antlers. The supposed spot of this vision (which affected Hubert so powerfully that he renounced the world, became a monk, and eventually Bishop of Liege) is marked by a chapel on the farm of "La Converserie," about five miles from St.-Hubert.

    By the time of Hubert's death in 727, he was famed throughout the countryside for piety and good works. Saint Hubert's tomb (though not his bones, which once were hidden from enemy invaders and eventually lost) is in the Church of St.-Hubert. Annually thousands of devout pilgrims visit the shrine. In the church are reputed relics of the saint, including both hunting-horn and mantle. Even a shred of the latter, when placed on the head, is thought to cure sufferers from hydrophobia.

    Throughout Belgium many churches are dedicated to the saint. Saint Hubert's Mass on November 3, officially opens the hunting season. In some places housewives prepare special loaves of bread which are blessed at the early morning mass. The bread is then carried home, the sign of the cross is made, and everyone breaks fast by eating a piece of the blessed loaf. People feed the bread to dogs, horses and other animals as a protection against rabies throughout the year. According to an old folk-jingle:


I came all the way from Saint Hubert's grave,
Without stick, without staff,
Mad dogs stand still!
This is Saint Hubert's will.
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