Echternach Church and Brussels, Belgium

Echternach, Luxembourg is built around the Basilica of Echternach. St. Willibrord was sent here from England as a missionary. He liked the area so much that when he died he asked to be buried beneath the Church. In the crypt you first notice the ornate tombs of some of the other monks. Then you come along a simple slab of concrete with an inscription above it and a little water fountain at the base. This is where St. Willibrord was buried in 739. He was born in 658. He became an archbishop and also received some land in Echternach to build the church. Soon after his death he was venerated as a saint. My guide told me that to this day he is prayed to or worshiped for health and healing of diseases. Every year on Pentecost Tuesday, thousands of people come to the little town square and Church to do a jumping dance from one side of town until they enter the church. Usually people are organized into groups with children going first, then women, perhaps a group of teachers, a group from a surrounding area, etc. The men, however, always close the dancing procession wearing white shirts and black pants. The dance originated because in St. Willibrord’s day, the people dealt with epilepsy and plague. He was said to work and heal children with these types of diseases. Therefore, after his death people do a dance that mimics the disease to ask for protection or healing from it.

 

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Brussels, Belgium

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From Echternach, I headed to Brussels via bus and train. When I got to Brussels, I knew it would be a little walk to the hotel, but I way underestimated it considering I was pulling my luggage 😉 My first impression is just the shear size of the city. All of the buildings are HUGE and gorgeous. The city seams to never end and come up with a thousand new side streets. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my hotel is right in the middle of a bustling square and shopping area. Shops and restaurants everywhere! My first order of business was to buy myself a big Belgian Waffle covered in cream, strawberries and choccolate…Delicious. I expected there to be chocolate shops, but there is literally one on every corner and perhaps every other store. Yaya!

 

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I almost forgot! There is a famous statue of a little boy peeing. It is one of the smallest statues, but famous because it is said to represent the son of a King peeing during a war. This showed courage or a lack of fear. There is also a museum of clothes for the statue from many countries.

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About the Author : Kylene Almeida

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