'DONKERE OMMEGANG' = DARK PROCESSION
After the miracle in 1479, the devotion to Our Lady took a high flight. Only a year later the first procession took place, but the common people already did the procession in small groups.
The clerics claimed a July-octave from Saturday to the following Saturday: this became the fair of Poperinge. On that secund Saturday evening, there was a procession around the church. The church stayed open during the whole night: thense the name: Donkere ommegang (Dark procession).
In 1806, by prohibition of the bishop of Ypres, the church remained no loger open that night and the procession moved in the afternoon. It became a prayer-meeting.
Since, the procession always starts at 4 p.m. at St John's with the statue that is carried by some men.