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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
(1933)

Chapter VII: Belgian characteristics and customs,   pp. [81]-97 PDF (4.0 MB)


Page 94


WISCONSIN'S BELGIAN COMMUNITY
  wrapped in burlap, his task was to decapitate the
  goose. But wait; before he starts he is whirled
  around and, when released, the crowd gives him
  a wide berth because his sense of direction is
  blurred.
       ("They had to discontinue the goose hunt in
   windy weather," my informant adds. "A canny
   fellow discovered that no matter how balled up his
   sense of direction was, the direction of the wind
   was constant and he almost bankrupted the first
   kirmess in which he put his idea into practice.")
       Late evening. The dancers reluctantly bid
   each other good bye and start on their long walks
   homeward. In single file, southwestward through
   the forest, travel young Amia and his wife Marie.
   They stride along silently, Amia deeply engrossed
   in thought.  The kirmess was over. Were his
   troubles over too? He pondered how to broach
   the subject of health to his wife but he need not
   have worried. Refreshed in mind and body by the
   day of reunion and dancing, the young woman's
   practical mind was already looking forward to
   the morrow.
        "Bien Amia," she says, "we have had our
   feast day and a pleasant time it has proven. The
   weather continues favorable but one must not
   tempt Providence. The oxen have rested too and
   to-morrow we must start early so that we may add
   new land to our tilled acres before the snow flies."
        It was fortunate for Amia that the night was
    dark, else would his face have betrayed his great
    astonishment and joy. His mind moved rapidly
    framing a suitable reply.
        When he did answer, it was only by great ef-
    fort that he managed to keep out of his voice any
    hint of the elation that he felt. Quietly, with all
    the instinctive, accumulated wisdom of genera-
    tions of benedicts, he merely grunted, "Bon"!
    Another expression of Belgian sociability is the custom
of planting the May pole. On the first day of May, after
a hotly contested town election is disposed of, the electors
come to do honor to the successful candidates. They bring
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