The 'one and only' Meyboom planted on time for 50th time in Leuven following yearly parade

In Leuven's Grand Place, the traditional planting of the Meyboom tree was carried out successfully on Wednesday for the 50th time. A long-standing friendly feud between Leuven and Brussels that began in 1974 dictates that the two cities must plant the "one and only" Meyboom every year on 9 August by 17:00. Leuven succeeded at 16:46 this year. If they had not met the time requirement, the tree would return to Brussels from where it was taken Wednesday morning.

A delegation of Leuven council members helped the Men of 1979 straighten the tree. As is custom, the men who plant the tree each year must be born in a year ending in nine. This was the third year in a row that it was the turn of those from 1979.

The Meyboom procession travelled through the streets of Brussels, as it does every year, with fanfare, giant puppets and all kinds of folkloric groups accompanied the colourful parade.

"We must keep this tradition alive at all costs."

The tradition of planting the Meyboom dates back to 1213 when the Duke of Brabant John II authorised the city of Brussels to plant this type of tree as a ​ symbol of youth and fertility. "Then there was a fight between people from Leuven and Brussels in an inn in Brussels," says Jan Brusten, the chairman of the Companions of Sint-Laurentius. "The inhabitants of Leuven were defeated, after which the Duke of Brabant gave the companions of Sint-Laurentius the privilege to plant a new Meyboom every year on 9 August, the eve of the feast of Sint-Laurentius."

According to Brusten, the Meyboom planting is "the last bit of Brussels folklore". "It's the 715th planting," he continues. "We must keep this tradition alive at all costs."

The Leuven practice began in 1974 after the Leuven Men of 1929 stole the Brussels Meyboom and, according to them, the right to plant it.


#FlandersNewsService | ​ ©BELGA PHOTO TIMON RAMBOER


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