The Bonfires of Belgium
Marcelin Bazier, Jeanne Wintquin, François Valentin,
and Caroline Dendas from Belgium
If you come to Belgium in late winter and if you see bonfires at night, don’t think
it’s a riot or a catastrophe of some kind. It’s just a Belgian tradition.
from Sebastien Lenelle
In Belgium, the people are used to lighting a bonfire to celebrate the end of winter and
the arrival of spring.
As a matter of fact, in many villages of southern Belgium, the people are used to lighting
a bonfire to celebrate the end of winter and the arrival of spring.
These bonfires are usually rather high (some 15 meters or so…) and a snowman or
a witch is tied up on top of them.
As the superstition goes, when you see 7 bonfires from the same spot at the same time
you don’t have anything to fear about witches.
There is also another tradition according to which when two lovers see the 7 bonfires
in the same circumstances (same spot, same time…), they will get married the same year.
Amazingly other people think that if they eat pancakes on the bonfire night, they’ll be protected from bad flies.
There aren’t so many places in Belgium where you can see 7 bonfires simultaneously.
Therefore, you should come to Bouge, a little village in the suburbs of Namur (the capital city of “la Wallonie” in the French speaking
part of the country…) at the end of February.
From there if the weather is fine you’re likely to see the 7 fires being lit all around the villages surrounding the town.
Some people believe in these superstitions and others think that they’re stupid.
Anyway, if you’re afraid of getting into trouble with a witch of your acquaintance, you now know what you have to do.
to: Belgian Superstitions and Festivals | Issue 26 | Home Page
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