National Geographic : 1938 Apr
@ National Geographic Society Finlay Photograph by B.Anthony Stewart A SOLEMN BELGIAN "PASSION PLAY" PROCESSION MARCHES THROUGH THE STREETS OFFURNES (VEURNE) On the last Sunday of every July the people of this little village nestling among West Flanders sand dunes take part inareligious fete. Many Biblical characters are represented in costume. The procession was photographed by the National Geographic Society's staff representa tive in 1937, the tercentenary year. Hundreds of men and women penitents, garbed in black clothes, with hooded masks and often barefoot, walk in the procession, usually bearing heavy wooden crosses, but the one leading this group carriesasign saying, inEnglish, "The Entry to Jerusalem." Once Furnes was a prosperous barony, with 52 villages under its sway. Repeated invasions hundreds ofyears ago bythe French and by the North Sea, whose sand dunes swallowed many hamlets, lessened the town's importance.