Public holidays in Belgium and their meaning
In Belgium there are 10 days of public holidays. For these days the employers gave their employees a day off. In Belgium a holiday is called feestdag (in Dutch) or jour férié (in French).
Here you can find the meaning of each holiday in Belgium:
New Year’s Day – on 1st of January
New Year’s Day is celebrated on the first day of the year. This holiday is the most celebrated public holiday in the world. People celebrate it with fireworks at the midnight and the meaning is the start of the new year. In this day there is a tradition to make New Year’s resolutions and calling family and friends for wishing them having a new good year.
Easter Monday (Monday after Easter) – 5 th of April 2021
Easter Monday is the day after the Easter and it’s also a day off in Belgium. Like this, people can have more time to celebrate this holiday. Easter is considered the most important holiday of the Christian year. In Belgium, people celebrate this holiday by painting eggs, buying egg and different shapes in chocolate for offering to the others and eating together with the loved ones.
Labour Day – on 1st of May
The 1st of May or the Labour Day is known also as the International Workers’ Day and is an annual holiday for celebrating the achievements of workers. This is also a day off and it’s celebrated in over 80 countries.
Ascension (39 days after Easter) – 13th of May 2021
The Ascension is a Christian holiday and the meaning of this celebration is the ascending of Jesus after his death and his arrival to Heaven. Is the 40th day of Easter and people celebrate it with a day off and putting out candles and usually going to the Church for attending Mass.
Pentecost Monday (Monday after Pentecost) – 24th of May 2021
Pentecost Monday or Monday of the Holy Spirit is one of the holidays with a different date every year. This is also a Christian celebration, but it’s determined by the Easter. This is the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.
Belgium National Day – on July 21
The Belgium National Day is one of the most important celebration for belgian people because usually it comes with big festivities, military shows, festivals and carnivals. It’s commemorated annually on 21 of July and marks the anniversary of the investiture of King Leopold I, the coutry’s first monarch, in 1831.
Assumption of Mary – on 15 th of August 2021
Assuption of Mary is also a public holiday in Belgium and people celebrate the belief that God assumed the Virgin Mary into Heavean following her death. This is a religious feast and the Christian people are attending the Mass for this special day.
All Saints’ Day – on 1st November
This holiday is in the honour of all the saints
Every year on November 1, many Christians people celebrate All Saints' Day by visiting tombstones to honor the memory of deceased relatives, which honors all saints of the church deemed to have attained heaven.
Armistice Day (1918) – November 11
Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. "Armistice Day" remains the name of the holiday in Belgium and in France ("Armistice de la Première Guerre mondiale").
Christmas Day – December 25
Christmas day is also a day off for the general population. That is the most festive Christian holiday and it celebrates the birth of Jesus.
Usually, on Christmas Eve people eat a special meal together with their family and relatives or friends, and they share gifts because Santa Claus it’s also very popular in Belgium. As in other countries, Christmas is the definition of presents, decorations, party, food and family meetings. In Dutch/Flemish ‘Merry Christmas’ is 'Vrolijk Kerstfeest' and in French it's 'Joyeux Noël'.