MiramirO moves to Coyendans Park
As of this year, the site of St. Bavo will no longer be the centre of our festival. Henceforth the heart of the festival will beat at Coyendans Park. Coyendans Park is a new park, that is to say: it is the new name for the site of St. Bavo, as recently decided by the Ghent City Council. The name refers to the history of the park. Each family living inside the ramparts at St. Bavo’s village had the right to have one cow graze on the “Heernesse” (grazing land) against annual payment of 8 Groats. As a compensation for the grazing rights, the farmlands on the “heernesse” were exempt from taxes. The ‘heernesse’ was a vast area of farmland along the Scheldt river.
Every year on July 7th, the feast of the “Cow Dance” was celebrated on the “Heernisberg” (near the current Klinkkouterstraat and Aannemersstraat), beating drums and blowing whistles with food and (especially) drinks. The city archive therefore proposed to name the park after this Cow Dance – the ‘Coyendans’.
Source: Maurits Gysseling, De Heernesse voor 1800. Een oude historie van meersen, koeien en vesten, in: “Van Wei tot Wijk. Honderd jaar Heirnis 1888-1988”, Gent, 1988, p. 9-23.