Photo of the week: Birds of a feather

Summary

1,400 performers wowed the crowds at the 89th edition of the Ommegang procession and pageant in Brussels

Nothing too good for Charles V

The first of two Ommegang processions and performances took place in Brussels on Wednesday, with the perfect summer evening weather bringing people out in throngs. Some 3,000 gathered in the Grote Markt for the annual re-enactment of the activities put on for Charles V’s entry into the city in 1549.

Brussels brought out its best crossbowmen, knights, jugglers, dancers and fire-eaters in the 16th century to entertain the Holy Roman Emperor and does so again every summer for two nights. While buyers of tickets take to grandstands in the centre of the square, anyone can gather around the edges to get a glimpse of the festivities.

The pageant follow a free procession of many of the costumed participants, as well as Belgium’s famous giants (and occasionally a wooden wagon handing out free beer). Casual observers can also take to the square after the hours-long performance to mingle – and dance – with the performers.

The night’s enthusiasm did not seem to be dampened by what happened the day before, when someone left a cryptic message on a digital message board at the European parliament. The message read: “Bruselas will be attacked tomorrow at 6:00pm in Grand Place by a guy with a neon shirt”.

Authorities investigated and re-enforced security at Ommegang but said that it was highly unlikely that the message had any validity to it. Indeed, the event proceeded without incident.

The summer’s second Ommegang procession and pageant are tonight.

Photo: Thierry Roge