If you think Belgium looks beautiful during any other day, wait until it's the holidays. Fairy lights everywhere, festive decorations all around, all accented by beautiful snowflakes! Sounds like a dream, doesn't it? Well, that's the wonder of being in this country for the holidays. You get to live out one fantastical celebration after another. But Christmas and New Year aren't the only holidays worth celebrating here in Belgium. The country actually has a handful of others that hold significance too. And you'd likely benefit from knowing about them, most especially if you're going to be here for a long time!
Belgium's Bank Holiday (Every May)
In most European countries, they observe 'Bank Holidays.' On this special day, all of the banks in these nations are closed. More often than not, the rest of the country takes the day off as well. France
has this holiday. The UK
has this holiday. And, of course, Belgium has it too. Though it's not considered a public holiday, all of the banks in the country still remain closed during this day. Usually held on the Friday after Ascension Day, you won't see a single bank open on this day. So if you have plans of going to the bank
, better reschedule it.
Celebration of The Golden Spurs (July 11)
When you visit or move to Belgium
, one of the first things you ought to know is that the country is divided into many communities. One of the main ones is the Flemish community, making up a huge percentage of the population here. And during July 11 of every year, they celebrate their own special day. Named the 'Celebration of the Golden Spurs,' it commemorates the history of the Flemish over the French during the 'Battle of the Golden Spurs' in 1302. That day cemented the community's right to live and govern in this beautiful country. And now, they're one of, if not the largest community here!
Belgium's Independence Day (July 21)
Also referred to as Belgium's 'National Day,' July 21 commemorates the day the country gained full independence from Napoleon Bonaparte's rule during his conquests in the early 19th-century. It was also the day of the investiture of King Leopold I, the country's first monarch. More than just the start of the nation's independence as its own country, Belgians hold this holiday to heart as a day of resistance. And so many of them celebrate it by holding protests, partaking in social and political debates, and the like. While the rest of the country, more often than not, just celebrate it with friends and family.
French Community Day (September 27)
Originally, Belgium's Independence Day was celebrated on September 27, the day the Dutch forces were driven out of the country upon Napoleon Bonaparte's defeat. But it was changed to July 21 back in 1890 and continues to be held on that day ever since. However, for many in Belgium, September 27 remains a significant day in the country's history. Particularly, for the country's French community. And so, in 1991, the country instituted that September 27 will be the 'French Community Day.' Most of the French-speaking regions of the country take the day off and celebrate this day with friends and family.
Armistice Day (November 11)
Another holiday that many European nations—including Belgium, of course!—is Armistice Day. Held every November 11, it commemorates the day both the Allies of World War I and Germany signed the armistice that halted hostilities on the western front of the war. It was the first step to ending what became one of the world's most significant and most horrific conflicts in history. For modern-day Belgians, it's another day off in the calendar, one the can sue to relax, have fun with friends & family, and just take the load off. But for those who lived through the war (which are probably few now), it marked a new day in history.
German Community Day (November 15)
Since the French and the Flemish have their own days in the Belgian calendar, should the German community have one as well? That's right, they have! And it's on November 15. Known as the 'Day of the German-speaking Community,' it doesn't necessarily commemorate anything specific, just a special day for the German community in the country. It's mostly celebrated in the region of Wallonia, where the biggest German community in Belgium lives. And just like how the French and the Flemish celebrate their own respective days, the German-speaking Belgians take the day off, spend quality time with loved ones, and simply relax on their special day.
The beauty of Belgium becomes even more enchanting when it's their holidays. During these special occasions, they take to the streets, give off a festive spirit, and spend time with friends & family. That's what makes any country so worthwhile to visit or even move to!
No matter what your plans are for any of these holidays, let's hope you're relaxing in your luxury home