Easter Tradition

It’s Maundy/Holy Thursday, and it’s a big day for Catholic bells in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. It’s time to spread their wings–and fly!

flying bells and children
Bells flying over children

From Maundy Thursday (or sometimes Holy Saturday) until Easter morning, church bells are silent. Their silence is in solemn observation of the most holy, mournful days of the Christian year, the days leading up to and including Jesus’ crucifixion. The bells joyfully resound again on Easter morning in celebration of his rising from the dead.

But what happens to the bells? Do they just sit up in the towers, biding their time? No! They strap on (or grow?) wings and fly off to Rome to…visit the Pope…or receive a blessing…or get an extra-special polish…? It’s not clear what the bells *do* once they get to Rome, but off they go. And when they return in time for Easter, they drop down chocolate eggs for the local children. So no Easter Bunny here, folks–the bells bring the kids the Easter treats.

2 thoughts on “Easter Tradition

  1. https://friendsstc.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/if17974.jpg

    You might like another example showing this tradition. I saw this on display at the In Flanders Fields museum in Ieper (Ypres) a few years ago.

    During the First World War, some of the sacks used to ship flour to starving Belgian civilians were embroidered and resold as gifts. The flour sack in this photo, bearing the inscription “Help to prisoners of war: Easter 1916” in Dutch and French, depicts a dozen bells with angelic wings flying from the towers of Ghent.

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