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Quelven, Brittany, France
[Ora pro Nobis]
Gelatin silver print
Provided by the artist - Carl Uytterhaegen
Through sentiments of warmth and nostalgia
translated the vivid memories of yesteryear
into the future images of today.
Processions, An Elucidation
The Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans organized religious processions for a whole variety of reasons. The Christians too adopted the custom as soon as they were able to practice their religion in public (fourth century) and adapted it to the form and spirit of their own 'tradition'. In the past many processions used to pass through a part of a town or parish in the belief that the procession would serve to protect the particular area against epidemics and other calamities. Ultimately these processions came to be identified with the habits and customs of the people.
The procession of the sacrament: the veneration of the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist is one of the greatest celebrations on the episcopal calendar. This celebration first took' place in LiŽge in 1246 and in 1311, at the synod of Vienne (France) it was decided to celebrate it in all the churches. The processions, a part of these celebrations, became official occasions, in which the town magistrates, the guilds, the chambers of rhetoric and even the traditional giants took part (1463 in Covina). They began, however, to lose their strictly religious nature. In an attempt to halt this development the chambers of rhetoric and the giants came to be excluded.
Local processions took place in memory of the inauguration of the church. The inauguration of a place of God was customary practice among the Jews, the Greeks and the Romans and was later adopted also by the Christians. These annual processions may be considered as the' oldest of our traditional processions. These same processions are also at the origin of the village fairs of today.
The Ommegangs are processions taking a somewhat longer route, usually passing through different communes or parishes or in front of whole series of small chapels, for example the Ommegang of Sainte Gertrude in Nivelles (12th century) and of Fiertel (Saint Hermes) at Renaix (13th century).
Today's spoken processions are in the tradition of the chambers of rhetoric which used to enact scenes from the Old Testament or the life of the saints during the procession (Meigem, for example). In l' Entre ūSambre-et Meuse, walks are organized. These are annual or septennial processions, in which various groups of walkers participate. These are groups of men dressed in historical costumes, bearing that rigidities, bearing traditional arms, each group with its own brass band. It's possible that originally they were included in processions in order to protect hunting crowds from poachers (Fosse, St Feuillen 1856).
Although typically Breton, the pardon is also a religious event celebrated throughout the world (St. Anne-La-Palud, Quelven, for example). Certain pardons are in fact former Celtic festivals later instilled with the vestiges of Christianity. Throughout Spain there are processions during Holy Week, culminating in the Good Friday procession.