Monday, November 15, 2010

What's The Occasion? The King's Feast in Belgium!

The King's Feast has been celebrated in Belgium every year on this date since 1866, when King Leopold II first decreed it. It falls on this date because it's the name day of St. Leopold; it's also the name day of Saint Albert the Great... Both saints are of great importance to the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketEvents of this nature were once very common in Catholic monarchies, of which there are now only a few left. The King's Feast differs little from similar events such as the UK's Trooping the Colour in that it is also recognized as the King's Official Birthday; one large difference is that in Belgium the King and the Queen do not attend the King's Feast, as they should not be seen to celebrate themselves.

While most businesses in the country do not close on this date, government departments do.

The event typically consists of a morning church service at SS Michael & Gudula's Cathedral in Brussels, at which a Te Deum is sung; in the afternoon members of the Royal Family appear in the Belgian Senate alongside members of the government and various dignitaries for a ceremony, at the end of which is sung the Brabançonne.

In addition to honouring the King, the day honours the liberation of Belgium from Dutch rule beginning with the Opera Riot in August 1830, when the nation and its monarchy were established. The current King of the Belgians is Albert II (shown).
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