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Superstitions

Issue 26

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The Car d’Or Superstition

Caroline Topet, Hélène Belot, Christopher Marique,
Michaël Van Hoecke from Belgium


Golden carriage
Photo: Yoko
To put an end to the epidemic, people decided to ask for Saint Waudru's protection. They walked through the cobblestoned streets, exhibiting the holy relics. In fact, the bones of Saint Waudru were on a kind of golden carriage. It was called the "Car d'Or."


 

Have you ever seen big crowds of people driven by one of the most famous superstitions in Belgium?

This big city is situated in the southwest of the Belgian territory. The city has a patron saint, she's called Saint Waudru. She lived during the 7th century.

After bringing up her children she realised that having a belief in her life was something very important for her. Thanks to a few actions she did, she became the patron Saint of her city and people attributed some miracles to her.


For example, one of them happened in 1349. At that time, the plague was still present in Mons. To put an end to the epidemic, people decided to ask for Saint Waudru’s protection. They walked through the cobblestoned streets, exhibiting the holy relics. In fact, the bones were on a kind of golden carriage. It was called the “Car d’or”. Thanks to this action the plague disappeared and to celebrate their patron saint, people organised a procession in her honour.

Today, this procession is still present in Mons. It takes place every year on Trinity Sunday. For this occasion, thousands of people go out in the streets to see this strange celebration. Saint Waudru’s bones are laid in a gold shrine on a carriage, which is pulled by six horses all around the city.

And here comes our strange superstition. On its way to St Waudru’s cathedral, the shrine must go up a very steep street called “Rampe Sainte-Waudru”, helped by the crowd who push it on its way.

The superstition has it that if the carriage can’t go up the street, it means that important misfortunes will break over the city.

Lots of people attend this celebration because it’s a part of the city patrimony but maybe some of them freak out at the idea that the carriage couldn’t get to the top. You should make up your own mind about all this.


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