- Folklore and Tradition
The Saint-Pierre de Biesmerée procession, which takes place on the first Sunday of July, is a wonderful example of Walloon folklore.
Biesmerée is a small village of 700 habitants, located at the heart of the Entre Sambre et Meuse region, at the end of the Jules Tacheny de Mettet racetrack, a mere 10 km of the Maredsous abbey. The tradition of the procession, which honours the patron saint of the parish, has taken place since time immemorial.
The first and second empire style costumes are handed down from father to son. Indeed, this procession only features men - simply because platoons at the time would not accept women amongst their ranks, not even as cooks.
The Sunday following June 29th, every year, over 180 walk proudly through the village, following the same itinerary that had been taken for centuries, with drums and fifes pacing their march.
The battalion deploying in a square formation is a scene very much looked forward to. The festivities start on the Saturday evening at the Saint Pierre fountain, said to have healing powers: those suffering from a fever, drinking from it, are soon appeased. The source will be blessed by the priest after mass.
The tir au fagot is another tradition of the processions in the Entre Sambre et Meuse region and another favourite moment of the march. On the Monday, after tribute is paid to the various war memorials, each armed man (Grenadiers, Voltigeurs and Zouaves) shoots on a bundle of wood, 5 metres away from them try to make it fall down in one go. On the Tuesday a torch-lit procession concludes the festivities.