Blessed tractor, blessed harvest

16 Mar 2021

Spring is on its way, and farmers are emerging from winter. Pear trees are starting to blossom, wheat is being sown, and the holy water font is ready. Around 50 years ago, farmers used to prepare for a good season by blessing their tractors. This tradition is now increasingly rare… but not in Heestert!

From West Flanders across Waasland to Limburg: tractor consecration takes place throughout Flanders. Blessing your vehicle at the end of winter is supposed to bring good luck and guarantee a successful harvest. Farmers have been sprinkling holy water on their tractors for many years, but this tradition is slowly disappearing in many places. Fortunately, however, they’re still performing this special ceremony in Heestert near Zwevegem… and not by halves. In 2018 they used some 20 litres of holy water!

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Farmers and their tractors might seem inseparable, but farmers have only truly been seduced by their steel steeds, and sending their draught horses back into the grassy meadow, since 1945. The tradition of consecrating tractors came about from a religious perspective, but it’s no longer a religious matter for everyone. Discover why residents of Heestert in West Flanders still bless their tractors and trucks in this gem of a clip from 2018.

We regularly highlight treasures like this from our archive system by showcasing them on our website. This religious – or superstitious – report comes from the archive of regional broadcasters Focus-WTV. They are top of the list for interesting news from West Flanders.

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