Zinneke Parade 2008

This Saturday, the fifth annual Zinneke Parade was held in Brussels.

Zinneke Parade? What is that? The parade is a city project that has as goal to bring the inhabitants of Brussels, associations and clubs, schools and artists from the different parts of Brussels (which also includes 19 Brussels’ communities next to the city centre). It’s actually a social and an artistic project that has as goal to bring people together. But it even goes further than Brussels. There was even a collaboration with associations from Bologna (to make the human tumultuous wave!).

What does Zinneke stand for then? It is the name the inhabitants of Brussels gave to the Little Zenne, the river that surrounds the city and keeps it safe from floods. But it also is the name for street dogs… that in the old days, I’m speaking medieval times, got thrown into the river when too many street dogs were around. But today, you call someone a Zinneke when: it stands for someone of a non identified background, symbol of the cosmopolitan and multicultural Brussels.

The parade took place in the city centre of Brussels and wherever you stood along the parade track, you were sure to see every group, because for 3 hours scheduled, they went in a loop so that they got to the point they started a second time.

The theme this year was water. As a source for life, the molecule H2O, water in myths and legends with stories about pirates or water as a metaphor for cleanliness… Each group in the parade chose an aspect of water to portray. Either political in the sense of how water distribution is done or waited. Or magical with pirate ships and enormous swans, while people dressed in blue acted out a tumultuous wave going back and forth.

It was the first time I went to see this parade. I never knew of it existence. Maybe because outside of Brussels I hadn’t noticed any posters. I do love these kinds of events, where people join in the streets to have a good time, friends and family. And seeing how much fun the participants have, how much fun they must have gotten while preparing their costumes and in the rehearsals. Inter cultural. It has again made me appreciate Brussels in a new way.

To make an exact text, I used as a source the official website of the Zinneke Parade.

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