The condensed History:
The word “Madrugado” has its roots in Southern Europe and its delicate meaning was sealed by Family Traditions.
One may find for the word “Madrugado” a meaning similar to “Dawn” or “The wake of a new day, just before sunrise”; Lesser known is its meaning in connection with people and families:
History shows us that in an era where families of royalty went bankrupt and noble families were strapped for cash, many of families acted swiftly to preserve the family values, heritage and treasures by using the elderly for their invaluable experience.
The example that did strike "all of us" was that of the Mateus Family, needing to preserve their family traditions and treasures. A "council of elder family members" awarded the title of “Madrugado” to the most recent member of family that had entered into the third age, and linked this, sealed in a notarial act, to the obligatory task to be creative in managing the family heritage for preservation and upkeep. Primarily for education, pleasure and benefit of future generations.
The title and its obligations were automatically passed on to the next suitable person in the family entering into the third age and ratified by the council of elders in the family.
In search for cash the first Madrugado licensed the use of the family name ('Mateus') to a wine farmer and until today “Mateus Rosé” is a well respected brand, still generating a steady income flow and added-value towards the family goals.
Where does “Verasdonck” come into this "Madrugado" story?
Back in 1939 Gerard Verasdonck took his love Greetje Duivenvoorde on a holiday to Switzerland where he proposed to her.
As a token of his dedication he had memorised this Switzerland-Event in the form of an antique Cow-Bell and presented this bell to her under the provisor that if she accepted his token of love, she had to marry him. She accepted, on the condition that he would safeguard this bell all his life and beyond; and so the bell came to hang in a prominent place in their living room all the years they were together. (Due to the outbreak of the second world war the actual wedding did not take place until 1942, but the Bell was kept in a secret safe place, under the ground, until then.)
Rob, the eldest son, turned 65, while he was enjoying retirement in Portugal. Jacques, the youngest in the family had formally gotten custody of the Cow-Bell, after his father died in 2007. He had been looking together with his wife, Marian, to give this bell a meaning beyond something inherited from the parents. Something that could add value to the past! So, Jacques presented the Cow-Bell to Rob, when he turned 65 years old, with the words that he would see it as a wonderful thought and achievement if the bell could be passed from Rob to the next children of Greetje and Gerard when they would reach the age of 65, maybe achieving that one day all children from Gerard and Greetje would have met again.
Rob accepted, and having been exposed to the Madrgado title used by the Portuguese families, he tied the title of "Madrugado", including its full meaning, to the Cow-Bell and initiated the thought of "Madrugado" within the Verasdonck family not only to pass the bell to the next Madrugado, but also to embark on preservation of the Verasdonck heritage in word and action trough this generation and the next.
Rob inaugurated Hans to become the next Madrugado on August 1, 2011. Hans enriched his book
about the family roots. Also, he published a website
with information about 600 years of Verasdonck-history. The CD is a 'hebbedingetje' and still available in some museums. As Madrugado he also made a new rule, saying that whatever happens, even if not in person, the tradition of Bell-Passing must go on, while taking all timely and appropriate action, so that the overall Madrugado goals could be met and continued. We think, that Liisa deserves the praise for setting the standard for Madrugado Inaugurations: In a wonderful family gathering Rob, Hans and Liisa, Jaques, and family, the event was celebrated and ratified by the Council of Elders.
Then it happened again, and the Cow-Bell came to Piet in Australia on 11 September 2013, carried to Larnook by Pieter-Sebastiaan as Hans’ representative and who, with a dignified speech, passed the decorations and obligations going with the title of Madrugado. Also this time Rob, Jacques, ... family and friends were present to celebrate and the Council of Elders, chaired by Jacques, the initiator, ratified the appointment. Skype entered the family gathering and on the day itself almost all could witness the event, even if not physically present. And for Jacques: His original goal had almost come through by virtual reality! Piet set effort in improving communication within the family, became an advocate in promoting FaceTime contact and boosted awareness on the issues around Climate Change and Health.
Piet called upon the experience of Pieter-Sebastian to deliver hand-over of duties, speech and decorations to his successor: Ans. She then became this month the first female Madrugado in the Verasdonck Family. And her special mission will be to compile a succession list of family members reaching the third age in the next 10 years. The second Madrugado with all his family tree experience will help her compile this list.
Like previous years, family was present on the inauguration day, either in person, or virtual trough the use of 'FaceTime' and the council of elders ratified the appointment.
We will aim to keep this website updated with future Madrugado Events, such as nominations and achievements.
If you want to know more about all this, click the button below: "Talk to the current Madrugado"
For now, He who voluntarily accepted the title of Madrugado, will see to it that the sprit and the Bell are passed on to the next youngest 65+ volunteer, and his coach shall be the "Council of Elders" Chaired by their Chairman. The chairman usually is he, who is last on the current nomination list to be eligible for the title, unless otherwise agreed. A chairman can never be a Madrugado, so he looks for his approved successor before his term as Madrugado starts and as is written, the council of Elders may approve the nomination.
You are up-to-date about the Verasdonck Madrgado, and....
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