News of: Saturday, March 19 2011,

Silent Walk procession this evening in Amsterdam

This evening (Saturday March 19) there will be the yearly Silent Walk ('Stille Omgang') again, this year for the 130th time.

The procession is held every year, in veneration of the Miracle of Amsterdam. The procession takes place in the centre of Amsterdam.

The procession is silent, and no signs are carried along indicating what the walk is about.

According to tradition, on 15 March 1345, a man lay seriously ill in his house on the Kalverstraat. Thinking he was about to die he called for a priest to administer the last rites, including the Blessed Sacrament. After receiving the host, the man became sick and finally vomited. As was the custom, what he had brought up was thrown on the fire. The next morning the host was discovered undamaged in the ashes. It was put into a box and taken by a priest to the parish church (the present-day Oude Kerk), but on two occasions miraculously made its way back to the house on the Kalverstraat. This was the beginning of the tradition known in Amsterdam as the Micracle Procession, since people had taken it as a sign that they should spread word of what had happened.

About 8,000 pilgrims are expected to participate.

Although catholic by origin, the procession attracts more and more protestants. Also, more young people appear to participate every year.