Matrimonial Tea Party

Matrimonial Tea Party

Between May 11 and June 14; Whit-Monday, Monday after Pentecost
Known locally as Goûter Matrimonial or DÉjeuner Matrimonial, the Matrimonial Tea party that takes place on Whit-Monday every year in Écaussinnes-Lalaing in Belgium is an opportunity for young, unmarried women to entertain eligible bachelors. The first Matrimonial was organized by a young man named Marcel Tricot early in the 20th century.
At 9 o'clock in the morning, the visiting unmarried men, who must appear in full bridegrooms' dress and wear a symbolic cup on their lapels, are greeted at the town hall and invited to write their names in an official guest book. Then there are receptions, speeches by local officials, sightseeing tours, band concerts, and plenty of opportunity for the bachelors to walk through the streets, which are decorated with streamers, pennants, and humorous poems appropriate to the occasion.
At three in the afternoon the annual tea is announced. One of the young women welcomes the bachelors in the name of all of the "old maids" in Écaussinnes-Lalaing. The "tea" consists of coffee, beer, and locally made sweets, and it is followed by folk dancing and merrymaking that continues for most of the night. No statistics are available concerning the success of the event in terms of matchmaking.
CONTACTS:
Belgian National Tourist Office
220 E. 42nd St., Ste. 3402
New York, NY 10017
212-758-8130; fax: 212-355-7675
www.visitbelgium.com
SOURCES:
FestEur-1961, p. 23
FestWestEur-1958, p. 12