Going to the Fields

Going to the Fields (Veldgang)

Between April 27 and May 21; Monday before Ascension Thursday
On Rogation Monday ( see Rogation Days), the inhabitants of the eastern Netherlands village of Mekkelhorst form a procession to the fields to ask God's blessing on all growing things. With the women and girls walking two abreast at the front of the procession, they follow the boundaries of the parish, stopping briefly at an ancient boundary oak and then proceeding to the fields to kneel before a crucifix and pray for a prosperous harvest.
Rogationtide processions like this one are believed to stem from an ancient Roman tradition. The Robigalia is one example of a spring ritual designed to promote the growth of the newly sown crops and to head off diseases that might harm them. Another ancient Roman tradition was to have young maidens visit the fields at the end of May to drive out winter.
SOURCES:
FestWestEur-1958, p. 132
SeasFeast-1961, p. 220