Friday, April 4, 2014

Learn 5 Things About Belgium's Traditions

Each country has a set of unique traditions as part of their cultural identity. Belgium is lucky enough to have some that date back to the 14th century that we've found particularly fascinating.

Did you know that Belgium:

Celebrates Mardi Gras with their own carnival season. UNESCO has designated the culmination in Binche an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity Masterpiece. The Gilles of Binche can be found marching down the street ushering out cold and evil spirits while throwing oranges, signifying the coming of spring, at bystanders.

Another one of these carnivals in Stavelot has a parade of monks in white making quacking sounds and hitting bystanders with pig bladders filled with confetti.

Has it's own road cycling race. The Ronde van Vlaanderen takes place every spring and is part of the UCI World Tour. (It's happening this weekend!)

Gets two Santas for Christmas! Sinterklaas and Pere Noel can both give children presents. It's also tradition on Christmas morning to enjoy a yule log cake and bread shaped like baby Jesus.

Celebrates giants. In August, the Meyboom Festival in the town of Ath features a parade of giant 20-foot tall puppets culminating in the marriage of Goliath, the town's patron and protector.

Fights a dragon every year. People in the town of Mons gather to carry a shrine on a gilded wagon through town and up a steep hill before the Lume├žon fight between Saint George (representing good) and a dragon (representing evil). Bystanders participate in the fight and snatch pieces of the dragon's tail for good luck.

photo source

Bonus: there's a relatively new parade where this is relevant.


livingminimal said...

Great job getting the info in regarding the Ronde! There are actually many, many, many, many major bicycle races called "Classics" in Belgium from around March 1st through the end of April, and your picture is of a different race, the DDV, but it's still great that you included cycling!! The Ronde is not only a Classic but qualifies as one of the five monument races along with one other Belgian race that takes place in Wallonia at the end of April called Liege-Bastogne-Liege (La Doyenne). The tasting rooms should guarantee some TVs for the Paris-Roubaix race next week! Ok that's enough from this cycling/beer nerd.

Cambria said...

Very cool. Thanks for sharing that! Thanks to you, we knew about the Flanders one just in time for the weekend. Cheers!