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Bruges, Belgium
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Parade in Brugge Bruges  Belgium

Parade in Brugge

Every year on the 11th of July there is a parade in Brugge that celebrates the Battle of the Golden Spurs.

The reason for the battle was a French attempt to subdue the County of Flanders, which was formally part of the French kingdom and added to the crown lands in 1297 but resisted centralist French policies. In 1300, the French king Philip IV appointed Jacques de Châtillon as governor of Flanders and took the Count of Flanders, Guy of Dampierre, hostage. This caused considerable unrest among the influential Flemish urban guilds.
After being exiled from their homes by French troops, the citizens of Bruges went back to the city and murdered every Frenchman they could find on May 18, 1302, an act known as the Brugse Metten. According to legend, they identified the French by asking them to pronounce a Flemish phrase, schilt ende vriend (shield and friend) and everyone who had a problem pronouncing this shibboleth was killed.

We only saw this parade by chance, we happened to visit Brugge on that day and we were very intrigued by the whole thing and asked a member of the precession what was going on.