August 15th festival

–Informant Info–

Nationality: American

Age: 53

Occupation: Senior VP for a development company

Residence: Pheonix, Ariozna

Date of Performance/Collection: 2022

Primary Language: English

Other Language(s): N/A

(Notes-The informant will be referred to as MW and the interviewer as K)

Background info: MW is a father of 2 who grew up and now resides in Pheonix, Arizona. He lived in Belgium for a period of years, which is where he saw and participated in this festival.

K: So, what’s the festival called and why is it performed? Just give me like background info

MW: I can never remember the official name of the festival, but a lot of people just call it the August 15th festival uh because the major date of it is on the 15th but it goes from the 14th to the 16th. It’s performed for normal festival reasons, celebration and such but mainly for Tchantes and other uh folk heroes, I guess.

K: Ok cool uh…ok go ahead and just describe the festival. Like what is performed and eaten and who is celebrated and stuff like that

MW: Ok so like I said the festival is for folk heroes, especially Tchantes and characters like that. There’s actually a huge flea market the weekend before I forgot to mention, its giant and lasts the whole weekend. Anyways the uh festival the first day is just drinking a lot of Peket (an alcoholic drink in Belgium) and celebrating everyone coming together before this huge concert really late in the night. Kids are there as well, normally having super watered-down peket *laughter*. The big day is the uh 15th where it starts with a big sermon and mass, and then in the middle of the day these huge uh…they’re called the Giants of Outremeuse are paraded down the street so everyone can see all the folk heroes, and then throughout the entire day there’s uh a bunch of concerts and smaller parades. The festival ends on the uh 16th in the evening with the burial of Matî l’Ohê, which is another folk hero I think *laughter*, I was too drunk to really remember! Anyways, these uh mourners follow that and throw celery onto the crowd to represent his bone.

I really enjoyed hearing about this festival! I was told about Tchantes earlier in the day when interviewing the informant, so being able to hear about the effects of Tchantes in daily/yearly culture was really interesting. I also thought it was interesting how much of a role alcohol played in the festival, as even children have a very watered-down version of peket. It seems that you drink until you can’t drink anymore, and then go to concerts and watch the parades and participate while everyone is drunk and having fun. It seems like a safe, fun occasion rather than a drunken frenzy.