Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween, Everybody!

Tonight it is Holloween... and I must confess to a fondness for these Pagan festivals.

For those of us who live in the "European Quarter" of Etterbeek, one of the central communes of Brussels (and it was called that long before the EU appeared on the scene), that means we get a parade. And it is a heck of a parade! Imagine 500 Orangemen strolling down the Shankhill Road, accompanied by flutes and drums, but all dressed as ghosts and witches, and you are pretty close.

It seems to be more of a Flemish thing than French, which may support the Orange analogy a wee bit, but it is always a lovely evening. Strolling along whilst being showered from the windows and balconies with goodies is great fun, and it is so funny to watch the Belgian kids ransacking the sweets whilst young George examines the offerings before taking just one carefully selected sweet and announcing "Thank you very much!" - he is so English!

But that last remark should not take anything away from the fact that in some parts of Brussels we can still find a sense of community that seems to have vanished at home - even in the east end of London, although it pains me to say that.

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