Writer’s Note: Although the holiday season is a time for celebration in many parts of the world, we must also recognize and be aware that circumstances around us made some of these areas potentially dangerous targets. Most recently, the Berlin Christmas Markets was marred by an attack that left people dead and many more injured. We hope everyone stays safe and enjoy the season wherever you may be.
Ever wonder how some other places celebrate Christmas and the holiday season? Ever wonder if you’ve been missing out on the fun? Mat has told me stories of how glorious the Christmas celebrations are in her home country of the Philippines, and Europe is known to have some of the most elaborate decorations and very high-spirited activities. So it was time to check out how some of these places celebrated the holiday season!
Brussels, Belgium – Winter Wonders and Christmas Markets 2016
Let’s start with Brussels, Belgium because, “MAN! THIS CITY REALLY KNOWS HOW TO CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS!” For me, it may be an understatement because I’ve never been part of a holiday event of this scale!
Brussels holds its annual holiday celebration at the Grand Place, also known as the Grote Markt, which is the central square of the city. A World Heritage Site named by UNESCO, it is highlighted with structures such as the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall), Maison du roi (King’s House), and elaborate guildhalls.
“But enough with the history, WE WANT TO SEE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AND STUFF!” Yes, well, let’s get onto that.
Brussels kicks off its “Winter Wonders” celebration starting November 25 and runs all the way to January 1. The event is held at the heart of the city with a multitude of attractions. This includes a huge Christmas Market, which has over 200 shops for food, souvenirs, more food, clothing/accessories, and lots more food! Needless to say, I stuffed myself silly with a lot of food and hot chocolate *insert food coma happy face*. And this market is absolutely packed with people wanting to get in on all the action.
What also makes the Christmas Market beautiful is the multitude of light displays in the streets and on many buildings. There is also a beautiful light show called “Origami Lights”, which is mapped on Saint-Catherine’s Church, depicting and celebrating Japanese culture.
But maybe the best part the Winter Wonder celebration is the electrifying light show that is displayed in the Grand Place. With the use of video mapping and coordinating with various soundtracks, the Grand Place is turned into one of the most dazzling shows you’ll ever see! You’ll have to watch the video below for this one:
Although the holiday spirit is very high, Belgium still remains on high alert from the terrorist attacks of 2015 (which subdued the celebration considerably at the end of the year) and 2016, with police and the military constantly patrolling the streets. Despite this, it hasn’t stopped the citizens and tourists for coming out in full force and enjoying the festivities.
Happy Holidays! We will have another upcoming post for the holiday celebrations, including Edinburgh and Paris. Let us know what your favorite places are to celebrate the holidays!
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