Procession of The Holy Blood
The Procession of the Holy Blood seems to have emerged as a civic ceremony by the late thirteenth century. Instituted in 1303, the ceremonial procession commemorates the deliverance of the city, by the national heroes Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, from French tyranny in May of the previous year and which takes place on Ascension Day, as one of the great religious celebrations in Belgium. Residents of the area perform an historical reenactment of the phial's arrival together with similar dramatizations of Biblical events. The passion play, the Jeu du Saint Sang takes place every five years.
The reliquary used during the procession is displayed in the Basilica Museum. The shrine was made in 1617 in Bruges by goldsmith Jan Crabbe from some 30 kilograms (66 lb) of gold and silver and more than 100 precious stones. It consists of a gem-encrusted hexagonal case topped by golden statues representing Jesus-Christ, The Virgin Mary, St. Donatian and St. Basil the Great.
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The Procession of the Holy Blood is a large religious procession, dating back to the Middle Ages, which takes place each Ascension Day in Bruges, Belgium. The centerpiece is the Blood of Christ, a coagulated relic said to become fluid again each year on this day. Sixty to one hundred thousand spectators watch the procession, a parade of historical scenes and biblical stories. Choirs, dance groups (e.g. dance theatre Aglaja), animals (ranging from geese to camels), horse-drawn floats and small plays with many actors pass by within a couple of hours. More than 3,000 people participate in the spectacle, which is also called "Brugges Schoonste Dag" (The Most Beautiful Day in Bruges). The event retains its spiritual aspect, as many bishops, priests and nuns from all over the world come to celebrate. When the Holy Blood passes by, the crowd becomes still and silent in reverence. The event is protected by the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Procession of the Holy Blood, 2010
Virgin Mary, May 2010
New Testament in Dance
Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya on the official viewing stand
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“Its imaginary value will increase with the years, and if he [his grandson-in-law] lives to my age, or another half century, he may see it carried in the procession of our nations birthday, as the relics of the saints are in those of the church.”
—Thomas Jefferson (17431826)
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“There is no Holy One like the LORD, no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.”
—Bible: Hebrew, 1 Samuel 2:2.