Festivals of Belgium
Festivals of Belgium Brussels Reviews
The different festivals of Belgium in 2009 May 08, 2009
Belgian festivals in 2009
The Sunday before Shrove Tuesday (22nd Feb, 2009)
Cwarme, in Malmedy. The Haguete, covered by masks, wander around with hapes-tchar (implements designed to feed lepers), immobilise bystanders and force them to their knees to plead for forgiveness. www.malmedy.be
Shrove Tuesday (24th Feb, 2009)
Carnival, in Binche. The Gilles dress up in green-eyed masks, beat drums and shake sticks to ward off evil spitis, they then dance through the town wearing ostrich-feathers and their followers through oranges at the crowd. The masks are over 150 years old and orginate with the Incan theme masks of a feast to honour Emperor Charles V in 1549, after the conquest of the New World. www.carnavaldebinche.be
First Saturday in March (7th March, 2009)
Bal des Rats Morts, in Ostend. The Dead Rats Ball.
Fourth Sunday in Lent (22nd March, 2009)
Laetare, in Stavelot. Dates back to 16th century when the Prince Abbot forbade monks from attending festivals. The Blancs Moussis parade through the town wearing white cloaks and a mask with a long red nose, emitting grunts, stuffing confetti down women's clothes, dangling herring in people's hair and hitting people with dried pigs' bladders. www.laetare-stavelot.be
Second Sunday in May (10th May, 2009)
Kattenfestival, in Ypres. From the 12th century Ypres has thrown live cats from the Lakenhalle belfry in order to exorcise evil spirits and witches. Since 1817 they switched to toy cats, and every three years the Kattenfestival cooincides with the Kattenstoet, a parade of giant cats.
Ascension Day (21st May, 2009)
Heilig-Bloedprocessie, in Bruges. Medieval procession to celebrate the drops of Christ's blood kept in the basilica. www.holyblood.com
Last Sunday of May (31st May, 2009)
Hanswijkprocessie, in Mechelen. Procession of Our Lady, medieval parade.
Weekend of 2nd of June (30th June to 2nd July, 2009)
Ommegang, in Brussels. Re-enactment to commemorate the 2nd June 1549 visit by Charles V to Brussels. www.ommegang.be
Trinity Sunday (7th June, 2009)
La Ducasse, in Mons. Begins with the Procession du Car d'Or, in which the remains of the 7th century patron saint of Mons, St Waudru, are paraded through the town. This is followed by the Lumecon, in which St George and the Chinchins battle a wicker-work dragon and his diable, and the townsfolk help by grabbing the dragon's tail. www.ducassedemons.be
Late June (26-28th June, 2009)
Beerpassie Weekend, in Antwerp. Beer festival. www.beerpassion.com
July every seven years (5-12th July, 2009)
Kroningsfeesten, in Tongeren. The Coronation Celebration to celebrate Tongeren's status as the first town north of the Alps to worship the Virgin Mary, in which a 15th century statue of the Virgin is paraded through the town. www.kroningsfeesten.be
Ten days before the third Sunday of July (18th to the 27th July)
De Gentse Feesten. 10 day festival of Gent. www.gentsefeesten
Belgium National Day, in Brussels. Military procession in Parc de Bruxelles.
Last Sunday in July (26th July, 2009)
Boetprocessie, in Veurne. Where hundreds of people parade in barefeet and cowls, carrying wooden crosses. The Penitents' Procession has been running since 1644, but dates back to the 11th century when Count Robert II of Flanders was lost in a storm returning from Jerusalem. He vowed that he would give his relic of the cross to the first church he saw if he survived, which was St Walburgakerk.
Mid-July to Mid-August
Foire du Midi, in Brussels. Funfair that started in 1880.
First Saturday in August (1st August, 2009)
La Nuit du Livre, in Redu. Night of the Book. All bookshops stay open until dawn, with fireworks. http://www.opt.be/informations/evenements_redu__nuit_du_livre/fr/E/19391.html
Meyboom, in Brussels. Procession of giants to raise the Maypole in the Grand Place.
La Regate des Baignoires. Dinant. International Regatta of Bathtubs
Last weekend of August (28-29th August, 2009)
Procession of the Giants, in Ath. A folklore procession of two giants through to the Grand Place, where they get married. www.maisondesgeants.be
First weekend of September (6-7th September, 2009)
Journees Internationales de la Chasse et de la Nature. Weekend hunting festival with medieval pagents, dog shows and horn-blower's concert.
Belgian Beer Weekend, in Brussels. Beer festival in the Grand Place. www.visitbelgium.com/beer.htm
Third Sunday of September (20th September, 2009)
Combat de l'Echasse d'Or, in Namur. In the Fight for the Golden Stilt, the Melans (in yellow and black) fight the Avresses (in red and white) to win the Golden Stilt.
Comics Festival, in Brussels. Comic festival held in St Gilles town hall. www.comicsfestivalbelgium.com
Third weekend of October (17-18th October, 2009)
Hasseltse Jeneverfeesten. Festival to celebrate Jenever, with waiters' raes, distillery tours and free jenever pouring from the Borrelmanneke.
Other good website:
Regular festivals not on in 2009
Three days in August of even years
Flower carpet, Brussels. The Grand Place is covered in a carpet of flowers. www.flowercarpet.be
One day in May, even years
Zinneke Parade, in Brussels. Multicultural parade to bridge the Flemish and the French. www.zinneke.org
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Part of the list Festivals in Belgium
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