The people in Belgium are celebrating Carnival 40 days before Easter. It’s the last time the Belgians are partying before the period of fasting. Especially the people in Wallonia are walking in big carnival parades and live according to the motto “savoir vivre” (know-how to live).
As in other Catholic countries, the believers abstain 40 days from meat, sweets and even chocolate! For some reasons is the good Friday in Belgium, not a free day, as in many other countries. From this day on, the bells in most parts of Belgium are quiet. Especially on Saturday (“silent Saturday”). There is a history, which says that the bells are flying to Rome to be blessed by the pope.
That’s why you can’t hear any bell in Belgium until Monday. It feels like years have passed when you hear the happy melody again. In some Belgian cities, paper eggs fly down from church steeples on Saturday. The kids have to catch these eggs and the child who gets a golden egg wins a prize. Commonly, the kids color boiled eggs, there are even markets for the most beautiful Easter eggs. On Monday the kids find colored eggs in the gardens or their self-made easter nests out of hay. These gifts were not brought by the Easter bunny, but by the bells that returned from Rome. There are some special Egg hunts in Belgium, in Thumaide, for example, the eggs are dropped by a helicopter.
Like most Belgian celebrations, you spend the Monday with your family. On that day, they eat ham, lamb asparagus, potatoes, pancakes, and sweet bread. Many families are going to church, these churches are decorated with flowers and icons. On these days the kids in Belgium are eating a lot of chocolate. As Belgium is one of the world’s tasting chocolate producers, they have many different kinds of chocolate on Easter. Special for this chocolate is the filling, like hazelnut cream, pistachio or marzipan. The shapes are the Easter bunny and the egg because they are signs of fertility.