Zinneke Parade: A celebration of multi-cultural Brussels

Richard Harris
© The Bulletin

The biennial parade is about unity, regardless of age, culture or nationality, and winded its colourful way through the capital on Saturday.

Created for Brussels European Capital of Culture in 2000, the Zinneke Parade - which took place this weekend - has become a mainstay of the city's cultural landscape, attracting over 50,000 spectators.

Made up of residents and artists, it highlights the rich culture of Brussels, cosmopolitan and pluralistic, and was created to build bridges between the 18 municipalities and the city centre and between the people of Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia through socio-cultural associations.

Every two years the groups taking part, called Zinnodes (think of the Krewes of New Orleans' Mardi Gras) rally around a theme chosen by the people of Brussels by public vote. After such themes as water, disorder and temptation, this year's theme was fragility. They create an unforgettable, entrancing, striking and magical spectacle that combines elements of Belgium's very rich carnival folklore with a contemporary multicultural twist.

The participants are of all ages, all ethnicities, and all walks of life. Ahmad Misho, a refugee from Aleppo, Syria has only been in Belgium for five months but he is already involved with the parade. "I came to Belgium to start a new life," he tells The Bulletin. "I work now with Zinneke Parade. I'm very interested to join them and create costumes. I like to share with them, I like this experience."

Englishman Simon Blackley, on the other hand, has been living in Brussels for more than 12 years and became a Belgian citizen three years ago. He is working with the Zinnode Le Parloir which is organising its variation on fragility around detention centres.

Read more at TheBulletin.be

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