You must have noticed about 1.500 participants dressed in the 16th-century costumes, walking around central Brussels! It’s the Ommegang, happening on 5th and 7 July on the Grand Place, but also bringing the spirit of middle ages (hundreds of flags, giants, folkloric characters, groups on horseback, imperial court…) to many different areas of the city during the three days in early July. Ommegang was originally a religious procession and meant ‘walk around’ (in Dutch). Later, the Ommegang went from being a uniquely religious event to an event also celebrating the city – and the seven great families, the guilds, the serments and the civil authorities as well as the crossbowmen all take part.
Bruzz.be brings a story which explains this tradition, noting the event from 1549 when the Emperor Charles V came to Brussels (his capital city), to present his son and heir, the future Philip II. The Brussels elite took this opportunity to show the wealth and power of the city with a particularly opulent Ommegang. In 1930, for the centenary of Belgium, the Ommegang was revived and has grown in scope, trying to get the Unesco world heritage status. If you want to learn more details about the origins of Ommegang and the way it is celebrated now – check out the article on Bruzz or visit the official website of Ommegang.