June 2nd, 2013

politics

Links I found interesting for 02-06-2013

train, tintin, leuven

The giants of Leuven

I picked up an interesting story in the news yesterday morning: a group of enthusiasts in Leuven had decided to revive / invent an old (or new) tradition, of constructing giants to parade through the streets of the city. Belgium is a place where ancient civic traditions and pagan ceremonies are often rather weirdly linked, and this seemed worth checking out, so young F and I ventured into town to see what was going on.

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It's interesting that this is billed very much as a Flemish, rather than Belgian, tradition. Of course this sort of thing goes on all over this corner of Europe, not only in Belgium but in nearer bits of the Netherlands and Germany. But I'm getting to sense a particular local twist to it, where for instance the festivals I knew as Beltane, Lughnasa and Samhaim continue to be celebrated in their own special way. Maybe these traditions go back a hundred years; maybe two thousand. Who knows?