The 707th Meyboom was planted on Sunday afternoon, at the corner of rue de Marais and rue des Sables in Brussels. Several hundred people turned up to see it planted. The tree was chosen from the Bois de la Cambre, and weighed around 800 kilos. The Brussels Meyboom ceremony has been recognised as oral and immaterial cultural heritage by UNESCO. “This year’s tree was particularly heavy. It weighed around 800 kilos when we cut it down, and 400 kilos after it was trimmed. We are happy that more and more Brussels residents are taking part in the Meyboom tradition. To keep it going, we are currently recruiting young tree carriers, who will do a year-long training course”, says Jean Vanderhaegen, president of the Saint-Laurent Companions association, which organises the planting.
The Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur, who is himself a member of the Buumdroegers (Tree carriers), thinks this popular folklore tradition should be preserved and reinforced.
According to legend, the planting of the Meyboom dates back to 1213, when the Brussels Kiekefretters and Louvain’s Peetermannen were in dispute over a beer tax. Brussels came out on top thanks to the intervention of the Laurent guilds. To thank them, Duke Jean III of Brabant gave the Saint-Laurent Companions the privilege of planting a Meyboom in Brussels on the 9th of August every year. This privilege is lost if the tree of joy is not planted before 5pm.