The Septennial Festivities of Our Lady Virga Jesse
Don't miss them!
For over six centuries, the people of Hasselt have been honouring Lady Virga Jesse, the patroness of the city. Every seven years, a procession passes through the city centre. In 2017, it will do so again.
A piece of folklore you don't want to miss. Unless you have the patience of a saint, because the next edition won't take place until 2024.
The septennial festivities of Our Lady Virga Jesse are so much more than a mere 'procession'. It is a tradition that is passed down from generation to generation. It takes place around the whole city. Flags, flowers and water features adorn the districts; folkloric representations and scenes from the life of Mary populate the streets. In addition, numerous Hasselt associations and cultural organisations are organising performances, concerts and exhibitions.
The highlight is of course the processions in which the statue of Our Lady Virga Jesse is carried in devotion through
the streets. She is accompanied with the singing choirs.
On Monday 7 August, the Langeman (the city giant) also passes through the streets. For centuries, this city giant has been the central figure in the distribution of pea soup during the procession – a piece of generosity that was once introduced for the many poor people of the city. Today, the more fortunate visitors can also fully enjoy this Hasselt generosity.
Street side or grandstand
There are four processions. On 6, 13 and 20 August, the procession starts at 15h00. On 15 August, there is an evening procession that starts at 19h30. You can admire the spectacle from the street side or book a seat on the grandstands. Be sure to reserve your tickets in good time. The seats are limited.
Grandstand seats procession
Grandstand seats procession Sunday 6, 13 and 20 August at 15h00; Tuesday 15 August at 19h30 (evening procession)
Presale price: €12 pp
Costs for shipping and handling: €3 (once only)
Reservations start from April 1 at Tourism Hasselt
Did you know that ...
... the decorated streets in the districts are also called 'the rotten'? The Old Dutch word 'rot' denotes a group of people who closely work together in close consultation to achieve a goal. It was also used for the city guilds, and nowadays it is still the word that is used for the Hasselt district committees. These committees toil for months to
transform their districts with beautiful decor for the procession.
Virga Jesse tips
Guided 'rotten' visits – Visit the streets of the city centre that have been festively decorated by the so-called ‘rotten’, the street committees of the festivities. A guide will give you a colourful explanation. Or take a comfortable tour through the decorated city. Feel like making a whole day of it, or even 48 hours? Combine the guided tour of the 'rotten', with an exhibition, a concert and a visit to the Basilica of Our Lady Virga Jesse, the St. Quentin Cathedral and the carillon tower.
The family walk – Get to know Hasselt in a light-hearted way and find out more about the miracles of Our Lady Virga Jesse. You will go on this walk without a guide, but a handy leaflet will keep you on the right track. Pick it up at Tourist Information Hasselt during the festivities.
The quest – The students of Hogeschool PXL have worked out an exciting quest. It focusses on the folklore and traditions related to the holy virgin Jesse. Get the instructions at Tourist Information Hasselt.
Miracle and Monstrance – Discover this heavenly exhibition in Het Stadsmus or cycle in the tracks of the miraculous host on the outskirts of the Capital of Taste.