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Festivals in Belgium

A selection of Festivals held around the villages, towns and cities of Belgium. From colourful traditional festivals to more modern marathons and F1 car races, everything is included. If you know of some more festivals that have not been included here, then please send us the details and we will place it on this page.

Carnival de Binche

The carnival of Binche is an event that takes place each year in the Belgian town of Binche during the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday. Its history dates back to approximately the 14th century .Events related to the carnival begin up to seven weeks prior to the primary celebrations. Street performances and public displays traditionally occur on the Sundays approaching Ash Wednesday, consisting of prescribed musical acts, dancing, and marching. Large numbers of Binche’s inhabitants spend the Sunday directly prior to Ash Wednesday in costume. The centrepiece of the carnival’s proceedings are clown-like performers known as Gilles. Appearing, for the most part, on “Shrove” Tuesday, the Gilles are characterised by their vibrant dress, wax masks and wooden footwear. They number up to 1,000 at any given time, range in age from 3 to 60, and are customarily male. The honour of being a Gille at the carnival is something that is to be aspired to by local men. From dawn on the morning of the carnival’s final day, Gilles appear in the centre of Binche, to dance to the sound of drums and ward evil spirits away with sticks. Later, during the day, they don large hats adorned with ostrich plumes and march through the town with baskets of oranges. These oranges are thrown to, and sometimes at, members of the crowd gathered to view the procession.The vigour and longevity of the orange throwing event has in past caused damage to property – some residents choosing to seal their windows to prevent this. February


Stavelot (Mid Lent Carnival)

Festival de Stavelot is held within the beautiful old Abbey where the contrast of old and new is magnified with contemporary art and a very original repertoire of chamber music and classical music with unexpected interpretations. March


Brussels Jazz Marathon

For more than a decade the Brussels Jazz Marathon has drawn people from all over Europe and even from Japan. A huge jazz party which makes the capital of Europe swing for one weekend, with more than 450 musicians performing on the main squares in Brussels (Grand Place, place du Sablon, place Ste-Catherine & place Fernand Cocq) as well as in 50 venues/clubs/hotels. The reputation and high quality of Belgian jazz is undeniable : renowned artists of international reputation, as well as a new generation of exceptional young talents, to be discovered. May

Liege Jazz Festival



Procession of the Holy Blood

The elaborate Procession of the Holy Blood through Bruges celebrates one of Belgium’s sacred relics. The event has been taking place since 1150, when the Count of Flanders appeared with a stained cloth, allegedly used to wipe Christ’s wounds. Photo courtesy of Holy Blood. May

Ommegang Pageant

The Ommegang pageant reflects an important moment of our history which we want to perpetuate as it continues to bear witness to our grandeur : we welcomed the greatest Emperor of all times and showed him we could give a reception worthy of that immense nobleman.Our purpose is to make our compatriots aware of their national history, to inform them and document them on their past so that they can better understand their future.To visitors, we offer a historical portrait of our country and the role it played at all levels : history, economy, the arts, culture, etc. You will see the major efforts devoted to reconstituting that memorable day of 2nd June 1549, wich made our Ommegang an event of prime importance. It consistently attracts large crowds and implies a lot of social-economic advantages for our City and our country. July


Temploux Market

The largest antique and second-hand market in Belgium, with over 1200 exhibitors of antiques, second-hand items and bric a brac. A veritable feast for bargain hunters. And for the serious amateur of collectibles and unique pieces, a special “Collector Day” is held on the Saturday. August


Essen Christmas Beer Festival

O.B.E.R. (Objective Beer tasters Essen Region) organizes its Christmas Beer Festival every year. For two days visitors can taste about 178 Belgian Christmas and winter beers. To let you judge the different brews at best, we use 15 cl tasting glasses.
Our beer list is regarded as one of the best in the world, with several scoops and interesting gems combined with world classics. This year we’ll serve about 150 different bottled beers to taste, including 22 on draught. Hot served Gluhkriek will of course still be available as well. December


Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival

It is a Bruges tradition to present Ice Sculptures Festival during the winter. The rather young originator proved from the first year that they have an exceptional organization talent. Every year there are suitable topics that fascinate young and old and brings an unprecedented aspect of Bruges under the loop.

Bruges is proud to announce a world first: its own unique interpretation of Frozen, a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter. Elsa, the Snow Queen has cast a spell on the Kingdom Arendelle and Anna, her sister, must find her to reverse the curse. Fearless optimist Anna sets off on an epic journey – teaming up with mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven – to find the Snow Queen. Along the way, Anna and her companions must battle the elements in a race to save their beloved kingdom. Encountering Everest-like extremes, mystical creatures, magic at every turn and a hilarious snowman called Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction. November – December

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