It’s a tradition of my own. When heavy grey clouds make autumn days gloomy I turn to the magic of light. Christmas lights in Holland city centres are little crisps, they make me feel at home. But, what really ignites the fire within me are the different light festivals. The November Light Festival Utrecht is like entering a feelgood fairytale.
(updated 18 October 2017)
During the November Light Festival Utrecht the city celebrates its patron saint Sint Maarten, in English known as Saint Martin. The celebration of previous years was a big success, which is why the city organises different activities for the entire family again this year. All week long.
I was completely enchanted. A giant lantern in the shape of Saint Martin himself led a long lantern parade. Children, their parents and members of different organisations followed with unique lanterns in all sizes and shapes. They didn’t just walked through the streets: they sang, danced and their enthusiasm was so contagious that many joined the festivities. By seeing, hearing and living this November Light Festival Utrecht my inner happiness manifested in an all giving radiant smile. All of Saint Martin’s friends and fans united in the small courtyard of the St Catharijne convent. Here they sang songs about being together, being merciful and sharing with those in need, the exact same virtues connected with Saint Martin. In 2017 this light parade takes place on Saturday evening 4 November.
The November Light Festival Utrecht or Saint Martin’s celebrations takes place from 3 till 12 November 2017
More information on all activities can be found on http://sintmaartenutrecht.nl/sint-maartensviering/programma
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My first visit to Flag Day Scheveningen was out of curiousity. I heard that the whole festival revolved around herring, and more precisely the new herring. But, if it was all about the herring, why wasn’t it called Herring Day or Herring Festival? I decided it was time to unravel the mystery and look for the story and history of Flag Day Scheveningen…
Best Viewpoint to Overlook the Herring Festival
Out of habit I choose the same spot every year to overlook the Flag Day – Vlaggetjesdag- festivities. Here, in front of the harbour I remember that first visit. I was determined to find out everything there is to know about the herring festival and the Dutch traditions shown on the day. Program in hand I made my way straight to the first activity, then the next and so on.
Herring and His Story
When I came home I was exhausted. After such a fantastic visit to Flag Day I needed some time to unwind. I took a herring out of the fridge, sprinkled it with some onions and with the first bite a thought came to mind: There must be some great stories behind all the festival activities. The next day I got some books, turned on my laptop and did a little research.
Where to Start Visit Flag Day
Now that I know the stories and history of Flag Day Scheveningen and its herring, I enjoy my visit more. The first time I came to this traditional Dutch festival has been years ago. In 2019 it’s celebrated on Saturday 15 June and Flag Day Scheveningen has become one of my favourite events. I’ve been here tons of times and can never decide where to go first. Tasting the new herring is tempting, but so is walking around the open air market with its traditional crafts, seeing the special water activities or going to fishers’ warehouse to enjoy some typical sailor songs. Hmmm, not an easy decision, but someone has to cut the knot. And that someone is me.