Bell One – Get to Work, Peasants!
The morning bells serve as a communal alarm clock and ring at exactly five o’clock in the morning. They signaled it was time to head into the fields to begin the day’s work. Of course, very few of the village’s residents actually work in the fields today, but the morning bell ritual has remained. I personally like the morning bells, but I have read stories about residents in other, less-traditional villages and towns raising successful petitions against the morning bells and getting them stopped altogether. Luckily, the morning bells do not seem to bother anyone in my village, and it is my sincere hope that I will continue to hear them every day at dawn for as long I remain in this world.
Bell Two - Victory at the Siege of Belgrade
The noon bells, which are rung universally in Catholic and some older Protestant churches around the world, commemorates The Siege of Belgrade, an important event in European history that has been all but forgotten everywhere outside of Hungary.
In 1453, the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople and ushered in the end of the Byzantine Empire. After sacking Constantinople, the Turks turned their eyes toward conquering Europe. They initiated a campaign up the Balkans and sought to crush the Kingdom of Hungary before continuing their jihad against the rest of Christian Europe. Luckily for Europe, the Magyars decided to put up a fight and repelled the Ottoman onslaught from July 4–22, 1456. The Hungarian victory essentially ground the Ottoman advance to a halt and spared Europe from the Ottomans for seventy years.
During the battle, Pope Callixtus III ordered the bells of every European church to be rung every day at noon, as a call for believers to pray for Belgrade’s defenders, though the noon bell has since been attributed to the international commemoration of the eventual Hungarian victory at Belgrade. Apparently, news of the victory at Belgrade arrived sooner than the Pope’s order in some countries. As a result the ringing of the church bells at noon was thus transformed into a victory commemoration. The Pope never withdraw the order, and Catholic and the older Protestant churches continue to ring the church bells at noon to this very day.
Bell Three – Evening Mass or Time to Go Home to the Wife and Kids
The evening bell rings at seven in the winter and at eight in the summer and apparently marked the beginning of the daily evening mass a century ago, but daily evening masses have since dwindled to weekly evening masses. Nonetheless, the bells continue to ring every evening. People in my village now refer to it as the “time to stop drinking at the village pub and go home to the wife” bell.
For reasons I cannot explain, I always yearned to live in a place where I could hear the ringing of church bells on a daily basis. Now that I live in such a place and hear church bells daily, I have a deeper understanding of why I had yearned for such a thing in the first place.