On the Monday following Epiphany, the locals eat a famous rabbit dish, cooked the Tournai way. You can try this traditional meal next on January 8, 2018.
This tradition was, for the longest time, a family celebration bringing together parents, grandparents and children. It is still enjoyed at home, but most prefer to go to their favourite restaurant.
Naming the kings
At the start of the meal, the "King's tickets" are drawn to assign the various roles to the guests (cook. doorman, musician, valet, doctor, secretary, confessor...), including that of the "King". Whoever is named the wine pourer will of course have to fill the glasses. Note that every time that the king drinks, the other guests must say "The King drinks". Whoever forgets will have his face blackened with a burnt cork by the King's jester. Where he not to fill his duty, his own face would be blackened too.
First dish: a small pieces of sausage served with apple sauce or cabbage cooked with lard. The sausage was traditionally offered by the local butcher.
Second dish: the famous rabbit dish, cooked with prunes, grapes and water (not wine nor beer) with steamed potatoes.
Third dish: a salad, Tournai style
Popular Tournai songs of course feature, including the hymn of the day: L'lapin du Lindi perdu, written by a famous author from the region, Albert Coens. He imagines being the rabbit about to be sacrificed for the tradition: a moving but funny piece.
What are Betrayal Monday and Lost Monday?
It was customary for rich land owners to organise, the monday following Epiphany, extraordinary courts. The population was invited to tell of crimes having happened the previous year without the authorities realising.
At the end of the day, everyone was invited to join... and pay for (in money or in kind).
Lost Monday gets its name from the fact that people used to take a day of unpaid holiday to celebrate. It was, therefore, a lost day in terms of the people's salary.
Event planned for the month of January 2022 (1)
(1) Dates and programme may be subject to change.