Local life.

We live in a small village called Eksaarde, which is part of the city of Lokeren, located halfway between Gent and Antwerpen (Belgium). The village is rather large in terms of surface area though, but most of that are meadows and crop fields. Eksaarde is green, agricultural and the people here are uncomplicated and easy-going. And they do like their traditions!

The agricultural environment of Eksaarde.

Typical agricultural environment of Eksaarde.

Last Sunday was the “day of agriculture” in Flanders, a day where a lot of farmers open up their business to the public. Given that our area has a lot of farming going on, it wasn’t difficult to pick out a few. Before noon, we visited a nearby dairy farm.

Wow! A cow!

Wow! A cow!

Cows' behinds...

Cows’ behinds…

Providers in the back, produce in the front.

Providers resting in the back, while produce is being tasted in the front.

Cute little calf.

Cute little calf.

Farming equipment on display.

Farming equipment on display.

In the meanwhile, Febe enjoyed the bouncy castle.

In the meanwhile, Febe enjoyed the bouncy castle.

To sum up the morning: cows.

To sum up the morning: cows.

In the afternoon we went to a goat farm and cheese maker in the town of Zele. Besides visiting the goats themselves, there were also demonstrations of some old-style farming and crop processing methods.

Establishing contact with the goats...

Establishing contact with the goats…

Goat community.

Goat community.

Cute little curious goat...

Cute little curious goat…

Applying butterfly makeup.

Applying butterfly makeup.

And another bouncy castle!

And another bouncy castle!

Threshing, old style.

Threshing, old style.

Scutching the flax with a good old scutching wheel.

Scutching the flax with a good old scutching wheel.

Odorous male goat.

Odorous male goat.

...and some donkeys as well.

…and some other quadrupeds as well.

Our little town of Eksaarde also has its own festivities. Every year in September, there is a week of celebration to commemorate the finding of 2 crucifixes in Eksaarde in the 14th century. It appears they are Byzantine artworks, stolen from Constantinople (or another city in that area) during the crusades in the 13th century. One of the crosses hangs in the church of our village, the other one can be found in a chapel 2 kilometers away: the Kruiskapel (Cross Chapel).

The Kruiskapel.

The Kruiskapel.

The Kruiskapel is a chapel built at the original spot where the two crucifixes were found, in the middle of the fields. During the festive week, a lot of people walk the 2km between both holy places, stopping at 14 stations of the cross: 14 small, 19th century chapels that depict the Calvary of Christ. This tour is known here as the “Negendaagse Begankenis naar de Wonderbare Kruisen“ (9-days tour of the miraculous crucifixes).

One of the 19th century chapels.

One of the 19th century chapels.

In the same week, there is a parade with the local fanfare, children dressed up as witches and the two processional giants of the village. The parade is short and ends at the church, but it brings out half of the village on the street. At the church, all children get some candy.

Parade and fanfare.

Parade and fanfare.

Giants approaching.

Giants approaching.

The inhabitants of Eksaarde gather behind the giants.

The inhabitants of Eksaarde gather behind the giants.

Somebody's happy!

Somebody’s happy!

Giants on display at our parish church.

Giants on display at our parish church.

Since 2008, the processional giants and dragons in Belgium and France are protected by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage (http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/RL/00153).

The celebrations also include a small kermis (fair).

Fair = fun!

Fair = fun!

In conclusion: the people of Eksaarde like their festivities and we definitely like to join in!

M

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3 thoughts on “Local life.

  1. Awesome to see your part of the world and learn about your local fun and things you do. It is stunning. The church is something to see, such a very beautiful building. Wow.
    I loved the cows, (love milk) and goats were the cutest creatures even. Such sweet little faces.
    I can see you all had a really good time. :-)

    • We had a fun day indeed! The crosschapel is a great building. It’s located in an open spot in a small forest. We hope to have snow this winter and make some frosty pictures :-)

      • I will be looking forward to your frosty pics. We dont see much snow here, so I appreciate show and frosty pics from others.
        Thanks for all the shares, I am travelling with you each time.

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