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Julien Thomast


The Procession of the Penitents in Furnes

This custom seems to date back to 1646, when Flanders lived under Spanish rule.

It is in this town of Veurne that this strange procession takes place every last of July.

It would be the northernmost procession of penitents in Europe.

Makeup and costumed extras reenact scenes from the Old and New Testaments.

250 penitents who wish to remain anonymous, barefoot, in their bure robe, wear a cross of varying weight as a sign of faith and penance.

Christ carries a 40 kilogram cross.

At 3:30 p.m., the bells announce the end of the fairground rides.

It is at the sound of the knell, for 1 hour 30 minutes, that the procession begins, which will tour the old town in an impressive meditation.

The return to the church grounds allows the population to celebrate, the beer is flowing again.

James ENSOR produced in 1913 a picture of the procession. We can see a connection with his famous painting The Entry of Christ into Brussels (1888).

Julien Thomast

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