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Saint Christopher behind the sun visor. “Lord our God, we thank you for this chariot.”

After an eight-year break, the traditional car consecration took place again in Adegem, near Maldegem. This long-held tradition attracted more than 600 drivers this year who had their vehicles blessed in the hope of protection and safety on the road. The event, which started in 1964, had stopped in 2015 due to financial shortcomings, but was revived this year by a group of enthusiastic friends.

Vehicle consecration is a deeply rooted ritual within both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches and even within the Shinto religion in Japan. In Catholic tradition, the consecration is often associated with Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers and road users. Although Christopher's historical existence is questioned, his veneration remains strong within the community of administrators and travelers.

The priest, armed with a vessel full of consecrated water, sprinkled the cars one by one. This blessing is not just a spiritual act; it is also a prayer for safety and protection for the drivers and their passengers. At a time when traffic is becoming increasingly congested and dangerous, this blessing offers a moment of reflection and calls for divine vigilance over road users.

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Photo: © Pitane Blue - Saint Christopher Medallion

Saint Christopher is, among other things, the patron saint of travelers and road users. When road users have their vehicle blessed, they often also receive a card or a medallion with the image of Saint Christopher.

In the Netherlands, the tradition of blessing vehicles also has a rich history. There were specific Christopher confraternities in places such as Tilburg, Hoeven and Roermond that dedicated themselves to these ordinations, inspired by similar customs in France and Belgium. The very first vehicle consecration in the Netherlands took place in Tilburg in 1926.

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Blessings often include not only vehicles, but also personal items such as candles, medals and key rings. These items have deep personal value and are blessed in the hope that they will provide protection to their owners.

The gathering in Adegem, during which each vehicle was carefully blessed, emphasized not only the spiritual aspect of the blessing, but also the shared responsibility and commitment to road safety. The opportunity to have vehicles blessed usually takes place in July, around the anniversary of St. Christopher's death on July 25, which gives the event extra significance.

In addition to car consecrations, there are also opportunities to have other means of transport such as mopeds, bicycles, motorcycles, tractors and even toy tractors blessed. This underlines the broad reach and inclusivity of the tradition that spans different communities and faiths, all united by the desire for safety and protection during their journeys.

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