Twenty miles southeast of downtown Boston, between the town of Scituate and the North River, time has created a special place where past and present live side by side amid hills and timberlands rolling gently eastward to the sea.
The Dutch and their folklor.
Life is become superficial and seems to suffer from leveling. In the same way borders between north and south, east and west fade and a new equal European or western culture is formed.
And yet old peculiarities seem to sometimes get an unexpected chance to live on in a new function. This is the case with folklore, that stylized expression of a mixture of belief, amusement and community spirit.
The Dutch are very attached to their own traditions: this has probably sometimes to do with the consciousness which was developed during the early history of this nation of traders, sailors and farmers. The ancient customs here are not kept up in order to please tourists, but in order to enjoy themselves and to express their creativity and community spirit.
The international christian festivals are subject to their own folklore. With Christmas come the Christmas trees and the nativity sense, this Easter the processions, the Matthewpassion and the fires, around Lent carnival. These celebrations are all international. Only Easter and Whitsun vary in certain regions, often due to pagan traditions. In this way Denekamp in Overijssel has a tradition whereby a high tree is cut down and dragged by the villagers to a place a little way away from the Easter bonfire. There, a barrel with tar is placed, upside down, on top. Ladders are put up against it. It is the task of the young man who plays Judith - who betrayed Jesus for money - to sell the tree by auction, while standing on one of the ladders. In the evening the barrel is set on fire together with the Easter bonfire. The unharmed tree belongs to whoever bought it. The whole thing takes place amongst a lot of singing and bellringing.
"Lazy-bones" is undoubtedly one of the most noisy customs around Whitsun. It takes places mainly in North Holland, but his recently acquired national fame because it sometimes gets out of hand. Groups of young people go through the streets at around 4 o'clock in the morning to wake everyone up with trumpets, drums and a lot of shouting. This always happens on the Saturday before Whitsun, so does not come within the Christian tradition. It should really be seen as the greeting of Spring, which should not be missed but anyone who might oversleep.
With the celebration of Kallemooi on Schiermonnikoog, the leading figure is the fattest cock of the island. In case it is not certain that the cock is indeed the fattest one on the island, it is certain after Whitsun. This is because the cock is not eaten, but is allowed to eat as much as possible from whatever it likes best. The Saturday before Whitsun he is stolen from one of the chicken runs of the island and put into a basket with a supply of food and hoisted onto the top of the Maypole. The ritual is crowned by the drinking of traditional Kallemooi-bitter. The cock is lowered down again on Whitmonday at 6 o'clock in the afternoon and returned to his owner. The evening is spent by the Islanders by singing old folksongs in the language of Schiermonnikoog.