Happenings & Folklore  


      * Folklore

            -  The Vielsalm "Macralles"

            -  The legend of Gustine Maca

            -  The legend of the Church of Beho

       * Happenings

             -  European Walk for Memory and Friendship (MESA)

             -  The "Sabbat des Macralles"

             -  Blueberry festival

             -  Jazz & Blues Festival

             -  Raspberry Festival

             -  Meeting of the Blueberry Brotherhood

             -  The Let There Be Rock Festival

             -  Gourmand walk

             -  Grand assembly of witches

             -  "Noël du Vin et du Terroir"

             -  Christmas activities and decorations

* Folklore

 The Vielsalm "Macralles" 

All dressed in black, they ride their broomsticks to the sabbat, to keep a date with the devil. In Walloon, we call them "macralles"; they are the witches, daughters of the night and of fear itself, born out of the peasant terrors of ancient times. In the 15th century, they were burned at the stake in town squares. 

These days, the legends that surround them are part of our folklore.

 The legend of Gustine Maca  

One day, some young people were out looking for blueberries, a wild fruit that constituted a resource for many in the region. They went looking in a place called "Bonalfâ". Since the winter that year had been much longer than usual, it was hard to find any blueberries.

Having searched in vain for hours, they decided to go home. Imagine their surprise when, as they were coming back from Bonalfâ, they ran into Gustine Maca, an old woman with a reputation for casting spells.

She was carrying a basket filled to the brim with blueberries. The youths were so astounded by what they saw they couldn't take their eyes off the basket. It was a most extraordinary encounter, and they were simply amazed to see the old woman's basket brimming with the fruit they had so much wanted. Seeing them so astonished, the old woman smiled and invited them for a glass of pecket and some "tchatcha", or crushed blueberries. The youths hurriedly accepted, but unknown to them, the blueberries were "bemacralled", and the poor young people were turned into Macralles. From that day on, they have taken part in the sabbat. 

 The legend of the Church of Beho  

According to an immemorial, probably legendary source, Count Herman II was the founder of the sanctuary of Beho.

In those times, Herman had joined Duke Godefrey of Bouillon on the crusades to free the Holy Land from the infidels. After the taking of Jerusalem ( 1099 ), Herman returned to his home land in the Ardennes, laden with a rich booty and, above all, with precious relics. He was no doubt overjoyed to finally be returning home, when, on the Glain banks ( just outside Beho ), his horse refused to move its hooves any further. 

No matter what Herman did to urge it on, the noble war horse would not budge. The confused count, seeing this obstinate refusal as the will of God, immediately erected a church not far from the place where the miracle had occurred, to house the shrine and the relics. There are quite a number of relics preserved in Beho : hair of the Holy Virgin, hairs from the beard of Saint Peter.

* Happenings


 End june: European Walk for Memory and Friendship (MESA) 

Four days, four stages. Stage 4 and finish in Vielsalm.

Information: www.marche-mesa.be - [email protected]

Office of secretary+32 (84) 24 60 17

 July 20th: The "Sabbat des Macralles"

The "Sabbat des Macralles" is held during the evening in the public park of Vielsalm. Festivities begin with a hunting horn concert, then the Macralles arrive and unveil the keys to the city for the Mayor. Everyone then goes to a place called Tiennemesse, where the "sabbat" ceremony takes place.

The Macralles give a sound and light show in Walloon dialect, portraying anecdotes that have happened to well-known local figures throughout the year. Next, the high council of Macralles enthrones the "barons des frambâches" who are leading figures from the audiovisual scene and local public life.

 July 21st: Blueberry festival 

Blueberry festival: began being celebrated in the region in the 1960's, thanks to a few people who wanted to honour this local fruit. Since then, the inhabitants of Vielsalm have continued the tradition. In the morning of the festival, a farmers market is held in the centre.

In the afternoon there is a procession made up of traditional cultural groups, floats or brass bands, which make their ways through the streets of the centre of town, finishing as a parade in the town park. In the evening, music concerts and fireworks are also on the agenda.

Blueberry pie and other regional produce are available for tasting.

 First weekend of August: Jazz & Blues Festival

Jazz & Blues Festival at Ferme Madelonne Jazz Club in Sterpigny (Gouvy).

 Concerts and jazz evenings throughout the year.

See the Gouvy internet site for the programme.

Ferme de la Madelonne

Sterpigny 4 – 6670 GOUVY

Mr Claude LENTZ: 080 / 51.77.69

Mail: [email protected]

Website: http://users.skynet.be/sb110035

 2nd weekend of August: Raspberry Festival

The inhabitants of Gouvy also wanted to hold their own local festival in honour of a fruit.

On Saturday evening : election of Miss Framboise ( Miss Raspberry ).

On Sunday afternoon : different activities in the main street, products made from raspberries on sale ; Miss Framboise and her dauphinesses parade down the main street.

 First Saturday of September: Meeting of the Blueberry Brotherhood 

Enthronement of new members en tasting of the new blueberry pâté;
takes place in the school " Athénée Royal" of Vielsalm



2nd WE in September (on Friday and Saturday) : The Let There Be Rock Festival




Two days of pure excitement in the Vielsalm city park !
Access for people with mobility impairments and special space for children under 14 years, just in front of the stage.


 Gourmand walk at the end of September 

Periodic stops for tasting the regional produce.

Info: 080 / 21 50 52

 At the end of October, every 2 years ( even-numbered years)

Grand assembly of witches, in response to the popularity of Halloween, our local Macralles decided to send a shiver up the spine of the city, by inviting other similar traditional characters, some of them even more frightening.

To the sound of screams and clattering teeth, a procession makes its way through the city streets after nightfall.

 2nd weekend of december: «Noël du Vin et du Terroir»

Terroir de l'an neuf (new year's produce) : market at the Maison du Tourisme (Tourist Office). Sampling and sale of local produce.

Info: 0497 / 62 29 24

Website: www.salonduvinvielsalm.be

 In December, Christmas activities and decorations 

Christmas activities and decorations in the city and surrounding villages, as well as Christmas markets in the villages.

For a detailed calendar of activities, please refer to our internet site, or contact us.


Website: www.vielsalm-gouvy.org