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Spirit of Christmas returns to Brussels

Brussels, Dec 10 (EFE).- After two years of pandemic restrictions, Brussels has rediscovered its Christmas spirit as a blanket of booths, lights and decorations has been laid over the Belgian capital’s historic city center.

“It’s time to party again, to meet your friends and family. People are here to enjoy,” Brussels tourism councilor Delphine Houba tells EFE.

In 2020, Christmas activities were canceled due to successive waves of coronavirus infections, while last year’s festivities were held “with many restrictions,” she explains.

Opened in late November, the Belgian capital’s Christmas market has been voted as Europe’s best by the travel agency Big 7 Travel, with a total of 240 stalls spread across the heart of the city selling food, sweets, hot drinks, winter clothing, accessories, handicrafts and, of course, Christmas decorations.

“You can have a drink, eat, ride the Ferris wheel, you can come to the Grand Place and see the sound and light show and admire the beautiful Christmas tree,” Houba says.

After dark, the Christmas lights are turned on in the city center, giving the capital a magical and cozy atmosphere for those who want to stroll through the center with family, friends or even on their own.

People gather at the tables in the center of the market to eat and drink and have a break from shopping, although they would be advised to dress warmly, as the current energy crisis has led the city council to take measures to cut down its electricity usage by 25%, including a ban on outdoor heaters and shorter hours for Christmas lights.

But those measures are nothing compared to those over the past two years, such as the Covid health pass which is no longer required, and social distancing regulations.

The real Christmas tradition in Belgium is to share time with family and friends, Houba explains, which she believes is “very important for our mental health.”

“This is really the message of the tradition: come and share a moment with the people you love,” she says. EFE

Source : La Prensa Latina