7.5.13

Remembrance Day in Roeselare, Belgium

As May 4th approached, the city of Roeselare started preparing for an event. The center of the city (de Grote Markt - or Large Market) was emptied of cars, and food carts, bistro tables and stadium seating filled the vacated spots. I asked the owner of Cafe Mustache (our favorite little bar here) about the upcoming event, and he mentioned that May 4 was a day of remembrance. He also casually stated that bands from all over this region would play during the event. 

Silly me! I had such a blond moment! I heard "bands" and instantly thought drums, guitars, and catchy beats. Naturally, I passed the misunderstanding onto my dear Hubby. Chris and I walked into the Grote Markt with absolutely no idea what day was being "remembered" and expecting to hear local rock "bands" from around the region. The "bands" were not there for entertainment, but rather they were marching bands playing tributes to the memory of fallen soldiers. 

We were a bit confused about May 4th considering Remembrance Day or Memorial Day is celebrated in November in several countries including Belgium and America. I decided to ask a man wearing paratropper fatigues and standing next to a large US army vehicle. Turns out he wasn't American but rather a Belgian army-vehicle-enthusiast/mechanic who had purchased the American war truck and restored it. He informed us that May 4th is a day to remember the soldiers who were lost in World War II, and that similar events were taking place all over the Netherlands and Belgium.


We watched some of the memorial proceedings from a nearby terrace, and as we walked home, we were stopped by a tall man in an ink covered lab coat. He gripped a bright yellow watering pail in one hand as he hurriedly asked me a question in Dutch. Chris and I are now pros at saying (in Dutch), "I am so sorry, we are learning Dutch so can you repeat that slowly?" Without missing a beat, the tall man repeated his question, this time, in English. We learned that it was his bachelor party, and today was the day that his friends did everything possible to humiliate him. His mates had filled the yellow watering can with beer, and he was instructed to get as many signatures as possible on his white lab coat. Chris and I agreed to sign our names on the coat until the bachelor mentioned that a kiss must accompany every signature. Chris was instantly uninterested, so I kissed the bachelor twice, made it into several pictures, and signed both "Lana" and "Chris" on his silly get-up. 

All in all, it was a day of new discoveries in Roeselare, Belgium. We now know that May 4th is a significant day of remembrance, and Bachelor parties are quite embarrassing in Belgium. I know that it is not called a "bachelor party" here, but I cannot remember the correct word in Dutch for the day before your wedding. Can anyone remind me? Maybe leave a comment for us! Thanks!

 










 Pics 1 - 3 the memorial marching bands //  pics 4 - 7 the Belgian mechanic who had fixed up a US army truck // pic 8 - spectators and a model of Roeselare // pic 9 - the lucky bachelor.