Belgium is famous for its fidelity to traditions and authentic cultural events variety. To feel the cultural heritage of this country, you should familiarize yourself with the historical background of the festivities. This article will help you sort out the themed celebrations in Brussels so that you can choose the fun that suits your taste for your future trip!
Ommegang of Brussels
Ommegang is one of the oldest Belgian holidays, distinguished by its majestic scope to this day. UNESCO designated this festival as the Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Ommegang takes place annually in late June or early July. The celebration tradition began in the middle of the 14th century, though the holiday had a religious background. The name suggests the essence of the holiday: Ommegang is a Dutch term translated as a walk or procession. The holiday was originally a solemn procession around the legendary Virgin Mary statue – the city’s patroness.
In the 19th century, the holiday lost its popularity due to political events, and in the 30s of the 20th century, the tradition resumed. Since that, the festival has had secular overtones and is to honor the visit of King Charles V to the city, which coincided with Ommegang in 1549. Today the festival is also a colorful procession and has a medieval stylization. At the parade, you can see traditional characters in authentic costumes:
- representatives of the nobility in purple,
- legendary saints (Gudula, Archangel Michael, horse Bayard),
- crossbowmen in ancient costumes at the ceremony of the oath,
- cavalry, archers, and swordsmen
- herald, chosen among prominent artists.
The iris is the Brussels Capital Region symbol, which, like this flower, blossomed in the swampy area. The celebration falls on the weekend closest to May 8th. In early May, the yellow iris is blooming, and on this day in 1989, the first meeting of the Brussels Regional Council took place.
The main celebration of Iris Day occurs in Brussels. It allows tourists to feel the cultural traditions of Belgium. Music festivals, street shows, and attractions cheer up the city. You can find treats, drinks, and cute souvenirs in colorful tents.
Other municipalities contrast with celebrating Iris Day, maintaining the area’s unique style. Many museums and exhibitions all over the region are open on holiday to visitors. Take your chance to save on leisure and rent a car to see more events.When traveling with friends or family, it is more convenient to use passenger van rental services. Van rental in Belgium will allow you to accommodate passengers cozy and not worry about the amount of luggage. Choose the advantageous rent a van in Brussels offers beforehand and travel without overpricing.
Unusual Celebration of Assumption Day
Once every two years, the Carpet of Flowers festival holds up in Brussels. The date falls on the religious holiday Assumption Day. For more than 50 years, on this day, on the main square of the city of Grand Place, masters have been weaving an enormous canvas of begonias. This work usually takes only half a day. After, the marvelous pattern of colorful flowers already flaunts on the square.
Everyone can rise to the town hall to see a panoramic view of the canvas with enchanting illumination. You can also walk among the scent of flowers and enjoy an evening live music concert.
Zinneke: one of the brightest festivals in Europe
The Zinneke Festival is relatively young – the first parade was held at the beginning of the 21st century. The term Zinneke comes from the Brussels dialect and means ‘mongrel’. Despite the unflattering translation, the people of Brussels call themselves that. It emphasizes the multiculturalism of the population.
The Zinneke Parade is held every two years and aims to bring locals together in a demonstration and cultural exchange. The organizers carefully plan the carnival procession, involving artists, dressers, and actors. Each carnival highlights an acute social problem. During the festival procession, people move on foot. Only live music sounds without amplifiers.
The pre-Christmas fuss begins in Brussels at the end of autumn and lasts another week after the New Year. The facades of buildings are decorated with illumination, and a festive mood reigns everywhere. The markets in the city host fun fairs with entertainment, sweets, and spicy hot drinks.
A live fairy tale unfolds in the market near Place Sainte Catherine. There you can:
- go ice skating,
- treat yourself to themed goodies,
- look at the panorama of the city from the Ferris wheel.
On the Place, you will also find handmade souvenirs from local artisans.
There are many more incendiary Brussels festivals outside the list above. Though, the festivals described are key to visiting to appreciate the Belgian culture and feel the flavor of the capital. The Belgians love to have fun, and the scope of the celebrations is astonishing for tourists. In Brussels, you will find an impressive event and get vivid emotions.