The ‘Ommegang’ in Brussels included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list
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    The ‘Ommegang’ in Brussels included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list

    The medieval festival is organised yearly. Credit: Wikipedia

    The ‘Ommegang’ of Brussels, an annual historical procession and festival in the city, was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, after the Committee made the decision on Wednesday.

    The Ommegang of Brussels takes place in the city centre at the start of July, and has been organised every year since 1957, but the tradition dates back to the 16th century. It is a festive heritage medieval event that carries a message of peace, and is intended to be unifying.

    It was nominated for recognition on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which includes living traditions or expressions transmitted from generation to generation.

    The procession is made up out of almost 2,500 costumes, banners, weapons, giants and floats. The traditions are kept alive by the guilds, stilt-walkers, flag throwers, horse riders and other associated groups, who train and practise all year long.

    In old Flemish, the word ‘Ommegang’ means ‘circumambulation’, the act of walking around. The name was given to a procession in honour of Our Lady of Sablon, a legendary virgin who arrived from Antwerp.

    The Ommegang was nominated by the Cultural Heritage Department of urban.brussels, and is supported by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times