Friday, 6 June 2014

Celebration!

The Original
Today is the Swedish National Day. Here in Brussels it was celebrated by the Swedish Club with a reception at the Swedish Church. However, earlier in the day it was celebrated by one of the main features and tourist spots in Brussels; the Manneken Pis.

For you who don't know who this is, it is a peeing boy! Yes, this is Belgium an one of the main tourist attractions. A small (when you see pictures you always think it is bigger) bronze statue of a naked boy that is peeing into a fountain. However, it has a story behind it.

With the Swedish National Dress
There are several legends on how this boy came to be a symbol for Belgium. The most famous tells us about the Count Godfrey III of Leuven, who 1142 was two years old. In his name a battle was fought against the Berthouts (masters of Grimbergen). His troops put him in a basket and hanged it in a tree to give them courage. From there the little count started to urinate on the Berthouts' troops who later on lost the battle.

Another legend says that in the 14th century Brussels was occupied by a foreign power. The city had stand strong for a long time and the attackers started to get desperate. They came up with the idea to place dynamite on the city wall and expected to be able to get in that way. A little boy called Julianske happened to spy on them when they were executing their plan. He urinated on the flosses and saved the city.

Another story told to tourists is about the rich merchant who visited Brussels with his family. His beloved son disappeared when they were out walking. He was later found peeing in a garden. Grateful for finding his son the merchant paid for a fountain to be build on the place.

However it is with the legends, they have survived into our times and has made Brussels famous! The reason why we were here today, is that for special occasions  the boy is dressed in clothes related to the occasion. Maybe for the celebration of a guild or a national day. Some countries have donated their national costume in the size of Manneken Pis and the Friends of Manneken Pis organises together with the country in question the dressing up of the boy to celebrate this special day. For these occasions the pee, which is normally water is changed into beer which is then served to the spectators!

Our ambassador Ulrika Sundberg (in pink) was there  together with representatives of the city of Brussels and The Friends of Manneken Pis. They all held a short speech. We sang the national anthem, the song to Manneken Pis and then a Swedish group of folk musicians entertained us with Swedish folk songs.

The sun was shining so the atmosphere could not have been better!





Folk music
Beer is being delivered 
The Famous Belgian Beer!

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