Christmas is celebrated with great fervor and pleasure since majority of the people in Belgium follow Christianity. Very similar to other European nations celebrating Christmas, Belgium holds to itself certain unique elements. Out of all the unique elements, the most unique happen to be the two Santa Claus figures, St. Nicholas and Pere Noel. Based on the part of Belgium that people live in, they celebrate Christmas in different ways. Celebrations may vary accordingly and might resemble the Dutch or French or German cultures. 'St. Nicholas' visits people who speak the Walloon language (a dialect of French that is spoken in parts of Belgium) during the Christmas season. During his visits, he will keep a record of the children who have been behaving good and bad. The child who has been good throughout the year will get his/her favorite chocolate while the naughty kid will get sticks. This is when parents find it easy to deal with children; children on their part behave well in order to be gifted. The people who speak French are often visited by Pere Noel. While doing so, he is accompanied by his friend Pere Fouettard. Read on!
Christmas Celebrations In Belgium
Read about Christmas and its traditions in Belgium and Belgian Christmas customs.
Christmas In Belgium
- A day that is marked as an important day in Belgium during the festive season is December 6th; it is marked as the Feast of St. Nicholas. It is his birthday that is celebrated on this day. This day begins with a church service where families gather and greet each other. Thereafter; they begin preparing delicacies and also start serving items which include tempting cakes and puddings. On Dec 5th, children wait for their gifts and as a result leave their shoes or baskets beside the door for their gifts. They also leave back some hay, twigs for the Saint’s horse and some wine for the saint himself. For children December 6th is extremely important as this is when the little ones receive their gifts for being good all through the year.
- The Christmas tree is decorated with great enthusiasm and joy with stars that are used as a symbol of the birth of Jesus.In some houses, gifts are bought for each other and placed under the tree while in other households, children are the only ones who are gifted.
- On Christmas eve, actors will enact Christmas stories in a parade.People might also find choirs rendering concerts at Hall Bruges and in local churches throughout the month of December. Families usually gather around the Christmas tree and then go for a midnight mass. It is either after the service or before when presents are keenly opened.
- When it comes to food, a special buffet is laid out. The buffet will begin with an aperitif(drink) and snacks followed by sea food as the first course. Later, a delicious stuffed turkey will be served to you. The feast will come to an end with the serving of a delicious creamy cake. Cougnou is sweet bread that is meant to symbolize the infant Jesus.
- Like most other countries, Belgium too has extended Christmas markets during this time of the year. There are stands that serve you hot, spiced wine, champagne, hot chocolate and Belgium waffles. You can also shop for Christmas candles and chocolates.
Now that you know how the Belgians celebrate Christmas, you can feel free to pack your bags and head to Belgium this Christmas, you will not be disappointed.