Erik Hadley, a lecturer in the history and university foundations departments, presented his 2020 Fulbright research on Belgian folkloric festivals through the Idaho Humanities Council Connected Conversations series. The one-hour talk, titled “Gilles, Giants and Dragons, Oh My! The Reinvention of Folkloric Festivals in Belgium,” explored the evolution of four different traditional festivals in French-Speaking Belgium (Wallonia) from the late Middle Ages to the present day.
Ritualized festivals in Wallonia are focal points of civic pride and serve as vehicles for local expressions of historical commemoration, Hadley said.
This talk explores the 19th-century reinvention of Wallonian folkloric traditions, their evolution through the 20th century, and how these little-known local festivals became the cultural centerpieces of these communities in the present-day, with many receiving UNESCO recognition as examples of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”