Folklore and Traditions in Wallonia !
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UNIVERSITÉ DE LIÈGEISLV – INSTITUT SUPÉRIEUR DES LANGUES VIVANTESOCTOBER 2011
Folklore and Traditions in Wallonia!
• Official name: the Kingdom of Belgium• Population: approximately 11,007,020 people• Size: 30,528 square km• Capital: Brussels• Government: federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy• Official languages: Dutch, French and German
Belgium is not a homogenous country with one national identity, which also makes our country so rewarding. As such, it is difficult to give a general overview that applies to all Belgians. The three predominant cultures are:1)In the north = Flanders2)In the south = Wallonia3)In the northeast = the German part
1. Carnivals in Belgium3
A lot of carnivals are very famous in Belgium, above all in the German part of the country. Look at the following pictures! Which one shows the
carnival of Binche?
3.Carnival of Stavelot - the Blancs-Moussis
Carnival of Malmédy – the Haguète
Carnival of Binche – the Gille
Carnival of Binche
Where?: in Binche
When?: during the three days preceding Lent ( = the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday until Easter observed by Christians as a season of fasting in preparation for Easter.)
What?: stands out as one of the oldest carnivals in Europe, and is now on the UNESCO Heritage list The ‘Gille’ is the traditional and central character of the carnival.
• He celebrates the return of spring.• They are all men and boys from Binche. • His characteristic features are:
- a brightly coloured costume (the national colours of black, yellow and red dominate)- a belt of 7 to 9 bells worn around the waist, as well as a smaller bell on his shirt front - a wax mask which symbolizes equality and a drummer- an impressive ostrich-feather hat- a particular dance
• During the parade they give out (or sometimes throw) oranges to the crowd.
2. The Ducasse of Mons or Doudou7
Where?: in Mons
When?: every year on Trinity Sunday (57 days after Easter)
What?: is a seven hundred-year-old procession and is now on the UNESCO Heritage listThe feast comprises two important parts:-The procession, the descent and the uprising of the Shrine of St. Waudru- The combat of Saint George named “Lumeçon”
3. The wallonia festivities: Namur9
Where?: everywhere in Wallonia (but above all in Namur)
When?: on the 3rd weekend of September
What?: a mass with a sermon in Walloon popular games concerts tasting of Walloon products and alcohol (pèkèt) combats of jousters on stilts etc.
Who are they? • The term “Echasseur” describes jousters on stilts.• one of the oldest customs of Namur’s folklore (1411)• Origins: in the Middle-Age whenever the Meuse or the Sambre rivers were flooding → this way of moving became quickly a game! • two groups: the “Melans” (living in the old town) and the “Avresses” (born in the new town)• two colours for the stilts: yellow and black (the Melans) - red and white (the Avresses)• the game: the jousters try to bring down their opponents (using shoulders, elbows, shoving or blocking the stilts, etc.)
4. The 15th August in Liège12
Where?: in Liège (Lidje in Walloon), in the Outremeuse district
When?: the weekend of the 15th August (for four days)
What?: puppet shows and folk dances a procession of the Black Virgin an open-air mass with a sermon in Walloon a cortege with the parade of the giants popular games concerts etc.
→ Both a religious and a profane tradition! Why?
It celebrates the Virgin Mary with a mass in Walloon and a procession of the Black Virgin (with the “Royal Bouquet”). The potales (small niche or chapel - often inset into a wall - to the Virgin) are lit up.
This tradition is linked to the important folkloric character and puppet Tchantchès (Walloon for François/Francis).
Who are Tchantchès and Nanesse?
• According to the legend Tchantchès was born in 760 during Charlemagne's times between two cobble stones in the the popular district of Outremeuse (i.e. “beyond the Meuse River”).•The good people who found him were amazed to hear him sing out as soon as he entered the world and ask for a glass of pèkèt.•Tchantchès is the personification of the true, stubborn, hard drinking and sulking person from Liège.• Nanesse his female companion, is courageous and affectionate.
The end of the festivities on August 16th is highlighted by the “Burial of the Matî l'Ohê”
(Walloon for “Mathieu l’os” / “Mathew The Bone”) → the end, the remains of the party!
What about the Belgian food…17
Our french fries, mussels, white sausages, meatballs “Liège style” (with apple butter), Herve cheese, waffels, the famous “lacquemants” from the funfair, the “bouquette” (a kind of pancake), the “spéculoos”, the “cuberdon” and many other things are well-known all over the world.
Of course, we are famous for our chocolate and beer too!
We have lots of famous chocolate makers: Neuhaus, Leonidas, Galler,etc.
We have over 700 different kinds of beer: Trappist beers, Abbey beers, etc.
Some famous Belgians…19
Adolphe Sax (Dinant)
(November 6, 1814 – February 4, 1894) was a Belgian musical instrument designer and musician (clarinetist), best known for inventing the saxophone.
René Magritte (Lessines)
(21 November 1898 – 15 August 1967) was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images. His intended goal was to challenge observers' perceptions of reality and force viewers to become hypersensitive to their surroundings.
Jacques Brel (Brussels)
(8 April 1929 – 9 October 1978) was a Belgian singer-songwriter. He composed and recorded his songs almost exclusively in French.
(22 May 1907 – 3 March 1983) was a Belgian comics writer and artist. His best known and most substantial work is the twenty-three completed comic books in The Adventures of Tintin series.
Georges Simenon (Liège)
(February 13, 1903 – September 4, 1989) was a Belgian writer. A prolific author who published nearly 200 novels and numerous
short works, Simenon is best known for the creation of the fictional detective Maigret.
Thank you very much for your attention!
Mèrci bramint dès côps!