Kallemooi

Kallemooi

Between May 10 and June 13; Saturday before Pentecost
Observed in the North Coast Islands of the Netherlands, the custom known as Kallemooi represents the fishermen's welcome to spring. A tall pole with a transverse arm near the top is erected in the center of the village. A live cock—usually one that has been "borrowed" from a nearby farm—is suspended in a basket from the apex of the crosspiece. An empty bottle is hung from either arm of the structure, which is decorated at the top with the Dutch flag, a green branch, and a placard bearing the word "Kallemooi." For three days and three nights before Pentecost, or Whitsunday, people feast, make merry, and play Whitsun games. After the fun is over, the rooster is released and returned to its owner.
There has been much speculation about the origin of the word Kallemooi. Some say it can be translated as "calling the May," while others claim it is derived from the word kalemei, meaning a "tree without branches" or a bare tree. During the festival, a special drink known as "Kallemooi bitters" is served by all the local inns.
CONTACTS:
Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions
355 Lexington Ave., 19th Fl.
New York, NY 10017
888-464-6552 or 212-370-7360; fax: 212-370-9507
us.holland.com
SOURCES:
FestWestEur-1958, p. 134