The calendar of Belgium events is a long one. Should you be looking to add some extra depth and substance to your Belgium vacation, then Belgian festivals and the various other events in Belgium are a perfect answer. Every city and town in Belgium has a festival or event that you can take part in, with a few yearly highlights across the country that bring in scores of tourists. Not only will these Belgium events and festivals likely end up being a highlight of your trip, but they will also make for unique memories. For flower-lovers, nothing can quite prepare you for the biannual Flower Carpet in Brussels, which sees an unbelievable amount of begonias woven together to form an attractive and colorful flower-based tapestry. Only helping to make this festival even better is the fact that it takes place in Brussel’s already visually stunning Grand Place.
The Grand Place in Brussels sets the stage for other fun Belgium events as well. Come the Christmas season, it is graced by a large Christmas tree and a festive Christmas market. In the summertime, events in the Grand Place seem to take place on a daily basis. For ten days in August, the square serves as one of the featured venues for the concerts that are part of the Brussels Summer Festival. On the first Tuesday and Thursday in July, it’s where the Ommegang Festival is held. Easily one of the more interesting festivals in Belgium, the Ommegang Festival is a long-cherished pageant that has its roots in the sixteenth century. A festive event, it features parading noblemen and women who are in full traditional costume. In addition to the festivities in the Grand Place, there are jousting matches that take place at Place du Grand Sablon.
There are other events in Belgium that take place in the capital city, such as the September Waiter Race, which in addition to featuring a hilarious race between trophy hungry waiters, also offers shopping markets and concerts. Brussels isn’t the only place to find interesting events and festivals in Belgium, however. The predominantly French-speaking town of Binche in Belgium’s Walloon region is where the country’s top carnival takes place. While the Carnival of Binche is at its best on the three days leading up to Lent, it actually starts 49 days before Lent begins. For seven weeks, Sundays include some form of ritualistic dance or ceremony. These small acts are more for preparation’s sake than anything.
March is when another one of the top Belgian festivals takes place. The Zythos Beer Festival, which started in 2004, is hosted in the attractive city of Sint Niklaas, which is just to the west of Antwerp on the route to Ghent. Around 150 beers are featured at the Zythos Beer Festival, and you can certainly sample a number of these sudsy sensations. This event takes place in March. In September, it’s back at the Grand Place in Brussels for the Brussels Beer Weekend, which sees beer tents tempting tourists with tasty elixirs.
Not only is Belgium known for its beer, but also for its chocolate. You won’t find many people on the face of the earth who don’t like chocolate, and thankfully, the Chocolate Festival in Brugge offers the chance to taste some Belgian chocolate to your heart’s content. Numerous Belgian chocolate makers have finished products for sale at this event, which spans four days in early April. Other Belgium festivals and events that you can catch throughout the year include jazz festivals, film festivals, fairs, and classical music concerts. Every third year in the historic city of Ypres, the curious Kattenstoet, or Cat Parade, might just claim the prize for uniqueness. In the Middle Ages, cats were tossed to the square below from the town’s Cloth Hall belfry. Thankfully, this pastime no longer exists, though during the Cat Parade, stuffed cats are tossed off of the belfry instead. The people below wait with arms outstretched, hoping to nab one. During this feline-oriented celebration, the townsfolk don cat costumes and other disguises, and there is a mock witch burning that only adds to the perplexity of it all.
The events in Belgium that are listed in this article are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s always a good idea to find out which, if any, of the Belgian festivals, events, or holidays are taking place during your scheduled Belgium vacation, and if you don’t have your Belgium trip all planned out yet, finding an event that you absolutely want to experience can help you decide when to go.