Every spring, when the sky-blue hillies begin to bloom on the dykes of Graanshoof, the yearly dyke race begins. Horse riders in search for glory mount their steeds and ride atop the great dyke of Graanshoof, which goes around the entire island. Once they are done, a spring celebration is held and the winner greatly honored. The race has its historic roots in the riders who protected the island by circumnavigating it along the dykes to check for weak spots that were in need of repair; they were… the dyke riders.The island Graanshoof is a small dyke island at the southernmost tip of the Hooper Chain. Being situated barely above sea level, the entire island is ringed and protected by the Hooferdam. The inhabitants of the only town of the islet diligently maintain the dyke, ever dependent on its protection against storms, sporting a rich tradition of dykemaster, who both maintain and improve them. With their pivitol roll in the Graanshoof community, other, more ceremonial traditions have arisen around the dyke, including the yearly dyke races in Spring and the Wattenwaten of summer. During the summer, the low tide is so far down that extensive tidal flats appear around the dyke. Men from the Graanshoof Community will walk out into tide flats at great personal risk to find pretty shells or polished stones to present to their sweethearts as marriage proposals. Out in the flats it is easy to become stuck in the slick sand or underestimate the speed at which the high tide rushes back in, and each year more often than not, at least one man loses his life. If their sweetheart accepts, their ceremony is held atop the dyke after one week of preparation, the lavishness depending on the number of brides.
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