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Home Tourism Folklore and Carnival The May Night

The May Night

”The May Night” (the night of April 30 through to May 1) is one of the most popular traditions in the Malmedy part of Wallonia. This night is completely dedicated to love as written in the text of a song by Florent Lebierre, and which his brother Olivier set to music.

It is difficult to explain the special success of this melody. The song describes in Walloon that the sky is beautiful and the small birds are resting themselves for several hours in the meadows while the suitors search through the forests and hedges to find a branch that is beautiful enough to be planted in front of their sweetheart’s home. The refrain speaks of how sweet this night is: “Oh, what a beautiful night, this night in May is, when one has the luck to be loved.”

Around 10 p.m., the musicians, singers or simply only groups of friends, are sent to make a visit to girlfriends, wives or also the persons in charge of the choir or music associations. As soon as the groups come near the house where they will sing or play, a rule of absolute silence is enforced. On a signal, the voices or notes rise up into the sky, while the beautiful females watch hidden behind their windows. Tradition has it that after completion of the song, a drink is taken together in the house or a little something is eaten before they continue to go then to the next rendezvous.
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