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   xoxoxoBruce  Friday Jul 28 11:47 PM

July 29th, 2017: Kattenstoet

Kattenstoet, throw the cat, specifically off the bell tower.

Back in medieval days, people were not very kind to animals and cats in particular. Many west European cities in those times held ritualistic cat tortures where people would gather dozens of cats in a net or wicker cage and hoist them high into the air over a bonfire. It was thought that cats harbored evils spirits and the Devil himself. So while the poor animals howled in pain, the crowd shrieked with laughter. After the animals were charred, the crowd collected the embers and ashes of the fire and took them home for good luck.
They were right about the evil, but wrong about toasting a few would help.

In the city of Ypres too cats were used as victims in numerous folkloristic games.
In those days, Ypres, like many towns in the Flanders region of Belgium, was renowned for its cloth industry. Wool was imported from England, and woven into fine garments by highly skilled craftsmen. Both the wool and the finished product were stored in the Cloth Hall, one of the largest commercial buildings of the time. But the cloth attracted mice, which gnawed at the cloth and procreated to unhealthy numbers.

To control the mice population, the cloth traders of Ypres brought in their natural predator, the cat. But cats procreate too and soon there were too many cats than the city could handle. And so the cat killing began. This being the age when cats were seen as harbinger of evil, nothing pleased the townsfolk more than throwing the animal off the bell tower of the local church. When business went bad, the people made sure that there was always a few extra cats tossed out off the window. With time, the killings became a ritual, taking place on ‘Cat’s Wednesday’, in the second week of Lent.
Cat’s only care about sleep, food, and sex. No wonder certain Cellar members identify with them.

In 1938, a group of young altar boys organized a sort of cat parade. Each was carrying a toy cat. When they reached the church, they first had a feast and then one of the boys climbed up the bell tower and threw down the cat toys.
The ‘Festival of the Cats’ remained mostly a local festival until the 1950s when folkloristic parades became the new rage all over West Flanders. On the second Sunday of Lent in 1955, the first magnificent parade was organized with 1,500 extras, all dressed in gorgeous costumes. Since then, every three years the city has been celebrating Cat’s Festival.

Snakeadelic  Saturday Jul 29 08:38 AM

Quoting: To control the mice population, the cloth traders of Ypres brought in their natural predator, the cat. But cats procreate too and soon there were too many cats than the city could handle.

If only history had made this lesson stick BEFORE cane toads were introduced to Australia or mongoose species to Hawaii...

Gorgeous mask work, tho...looks like paper mache from here.

Snakeadelic  Saturday Jul 29 08:39 AM

Except for the shiny grey ones. Those might be ready-made plastic.

fargon  Saturday Jul 29 09:33 AM

That's horrible. Poor kittehs

Gravdigr  Saturday Jul 29 03:42 PM

If they hadn't did what they did, maybe they would have had more cats, cats that would have eaten more rats, rats that, had they been eaten, would not have had fleas, fleas that would not have spread The Fucking Black Plague, The Fucking Black Plague that killed the living fuck out of those people.


Fuck 'em all.

xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Jul 29 04:36 PM

That's a myth, actually it was evil demon cats causing the plague.

xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Jul 30 12:07 AM

During WW I, the war to end all wars, the Brits were so pissed about the Huns using chemical weapons, they retaliated with biological weapons. They fired plague producing demons at the Hun's supply chain.

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