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Veurne, Belgium

Boetprocessie Veurne Reviews

Adrian_Liston Adrian_L…
156 reviews
The Procession of the Pentients Jul 25, 2010
St Walburgakerk in Veurne has been a major church since the 11th century, when Count Robert II of Flanders was returning from the Crusades. He was lost in a storm and tried to bribe God by promising his relic of the Cross to the first church that he saw if he survived. He did survive, saw St Walburgakerk and donated the phony relic.

Four hundred years later along came the Capuchin friars, a Catholic order that are heavily into self-deprivation and punishment. In 1644 the Capuchin fathers decided to organise a large procession to ward off war and plague, "please stop punishing us God, we will punish ourselves". The villagers of Veurne were roped into a barefoot pilgrimage to Spain, and later started a small version every year in Veurne. With a few interruptions, such as the French Revolution, the citizens of Veurne every year since 1644, on the last Sunday of July, take up a heavy cross and self-flagellate themselves across the city, so that they can feel more holy than everyone else.

The festival is extremely sombre, even depressing, consisting of a few illustrated Bible stories being wheeled on carts, accompanied by men shouted out us in Flemish, presumably about how despicable humanity is. Then the pentients followed, wearing brown robes and executioner's masks, mumbling religious mantras and hauling a heavy cross. Except for the colour change, it was disturbingly similar to a march of the KKK.
Adrian_Liston says:
I guess they can't all be winners :)
Posted on: Jul 26, 2010
lamadude says:
Haha, I had never heard of this (except for the name) it does sound awful! Why did you go? ;-)
Posted on: Jul 26, 2010
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