The custom of 'midwinterhoorn blazen' (blowing the midwinter horn) during the period from the eve of Advent through Epiphany on January 6, is believed to have originated more than 2,000 years ago. The long horns produce a piercing wail that carries for miles over the countryside. Although in pagan times the blowing of the horns was thought to rid the earth of evil spirits, today they announce the coming of Christ.
The ancient tradition is still very much alive in the eastern part of the Netherlands, in a region called Twente. However there are more towns that honour the horn blowing. These pictures were taken near Zuidwolde, where a 10 km hike was organised. At several spots along the route men were blowing the midwinter horns.
It was very well organised, and a hot drink like coffee, tea or hot choco was included. For those who liked something stronger there was a kind of brandy, served in small glasses.
The route was named 'Midwinterhoorn Kuiertocht' (Midwinter horn stroll). At each spot where the horns were blown on there was a banner like this one.
A few more photo's tomorrow..