Charleroi: the Madeleine march will be released on July 21, with a new general staff and an alderman who will change uniform three times

Charleroi: the Madeleine march will be released on July 21, with a new general staff and an alderman who will change uniform three times
Charleroi: the Madeleine march will be released on July 21, with a new general staff and an alderman who will change uniform three times

La Madeleine, in the Jumet-Heigne district, is a procession enhanced by a folkloric march, it is a week of festivities (from July 19 to 25), it is an event that mobilizes an entire district and many people beyond. Luc Payen, president of the non-profit organization Les Amis de la Madeleine, who works tirelessly to promote this centuries-old folklore, begins: “This year, we have a major new feature, following the death of my cousin, General Jean-Claude Payen, a few days before last year’s edition: our tour of La Madeleine is led by a new staff, which includes in particular General Fabrice Vassart and Colonel-Commander-in-Chief Jean-Claude Quinet. For the occasion, our local artist Raymond Drygalski, also a member of the Mamelukes society, has engraved a new seniority medal, bearing the image of our new general.”.

The latter, who with the General Staff, organizes the Tour itself and guarantees its proper conduct, drew up the necessary inventory, as the annual outing of the procession approaches, the first written trace of which is attested in parish documents from 1380: “We are sticking to our usual numbers, we will have more than 2,300 marchers, divided into 46 companies, with 560 musicians and 107 riders. As for seniority medals, we will award 73 this year, including four for 50 years of marching and two for 60 years of marching.”. This Sunday, July 21, the departure will be given from Place Francq, at 5 a.m., civilian pilgrims in the lead, just behind the Jockeys of Roux and the Archers of Heigne, who protect the relic of Our Lady of Heigne, assimilated to Saint Mary Magdalene. The route will take the walkers from Jumet to Roux, then to Courcelles, Viesville, Thiméon, Gosselies and back to Jumet, for a start of the return to school around 12:30 p.m.

Luc Payen emphasizes: “Our folklore does not change. And it includes a highly important moment, the arrival on the Tère al’Danse, in the territory of Pont-à-Celles, around 9:45 a.m.”. There, the pilgrims begin great celebrations across this piece of land, which are not without evoking Gallo-Roman pagan traditions, which would then date back to much earlier than 1380. “Next year, it will be 45 years since this little piece of field was classified and protected and I thank the mayor of Pont-à-Celles, Pascal Tavier, for taking great care of it”pinned Luc Payen.

A councilwoman in working order

The alderman for Festivals and Folklore of Charleroi, Babette Jandrain, concluded by revealing a new event to which she will devote herself: during the six years of her scabinal mandate which ends in October, three marching societies of La Madeleine have obtained the status of royal society. “So I will be marching alongside them this year. I will start from Roux, among the Montenegrins, then I will march in the ranks of the Blue Tunics. Finally, I will join the Archers of Heigne. Each company plays the game, I will wear the appropriate uniform each time. I will take advantage of the breaks and stops along the route to change from one uniform to another. This is obviously the first time that I will have such an experience and I can’t wait.”.

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