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Holand, Hjalmar Rued, 1872-1963 / Wisconsin's Belgian community : an account of the early events in the Belgian settlement in northeastern Wisconsin with particular reference to the Belgians in Door County

Chapter VII: Belgian characteristics and customs,   pp. [81]-97 PDF (2.5 MB)

Page [81]

THE BELGIANS of the Door County peninsula are a people
of rather short but very stocky frame with black hair and
brown eyes. About twenty percent have blue eyes.
    Their most noticeable characteristic is their friendly,
convivial disposition. They are a smiling people and should
therefore be good merchants, but they are not much inclined
to enter business and prefer life on the farm. This sociable
attitude seeks an outlet in many special festive occasions,
such as weddings, christenings and family anniversaries,
when there is a vast amount of flux de bouche with accom-
panying influx of spirituous beverages. The phrase, crever
ou etouffer de rire-to split one's sides with laughing -
must have had its origin among the Belgians, for they are
constantly doing it.
    This craving for garrulous companionship is, if not a
factor, at least a partial cause of church attendance.
All Belgians go to church regularly, the women no doubt
prompted by a desire for ceremonial worship, which is with-
out question, also a factor in the church attendance of some
of the men. But it was early discovered by purveyors of
liquor, that a good location for a saloon was next door to a
church, for the Belgians loved to linger over a glass of beer
and exchange the gossip of the week. At these times it was
also customary to indulge in a little innocent game of conion.

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