August 19th, 2007

maria in garden

Vacation in Limburg

We have been on vacation to Limburg, a province in the south of our tiny little country. All is flat in the Netherlands, but in Limburg there are pretty hills (None of these photos are mine). We have had a great time.


Many houses are made of wooden skeletons, with straw and loam, and their walls are painted stark white. They are build on a wooden frame. Some houses survived five centuries, and all of them are very romantic. 


The area is Catholic. We have seen lots of crosses on the side of the road, and we saw little chapels near the roads as well, all well kept with flowers and votive candles in them. 


Often there were red plants planted under the crosses, symbolizing the blood of Christ. 

I did survive having no access to Live Journal, although sometimes I was formulating sentences for an entry about what I experienced. At one time I was temped to buy a card for access, that was after we went to a service in the village in which we stayed, in which bouquets of spices, flowers grains and leaves were blessed in honour of the feast of Maria Ascension on August 15. This custom is as old as the 16th century.


According to legend the Apostles found flowers and scented spices instead of the body of Maria when they visited her grave. Many of the ingredients of the bouquets protect against thunderstorme according lore (there are many thunderstorms in Limburg this time of year). People would hang the bouquets in the attic of their houses and they were burned with a prayer when a thunderstorm would arrive.

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