Friday, 20 July 2007

Maintaining traditions

In the rural part of Holland where we've just spent the last couple of weeks, we discovered some lovely Frysian traditions that villagers maintain:
Church bells are rung at 8am, 12 noon and 4pm. Once upon a time this was for the benefit of farmers out in the fields without the aid of modern time pieces. Not necessary now but still done.
Church bells also ring in a village when someone dies. Three peals for a man, two peals for a woman and one for a child, so that folk, aware of someone's imminent demise can discern for whom the bell tolls in their community.
This stork did the rounds while we were there, appearing in two different gardens announcing a birth. A blue or pink scarf usually denotes the baby's gender.
Quaint yet meaningful traditions preserved by modern villagers that speak of a sense of pride in the richness of the past as well as a real connection and continuity with the present generation of inhabitants.
It seemed to me that one function of maintaining tradition was to help maintain something of community too. An interesting thought in the disconnected lives we live.

1 comment:

Cherie said...

Incredible, just amazing that such things as these still carry on. Heartwarming.

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