Friday, July 22, 2011

The National Holiday Party

When I lived in Belgium, it would never have occurred to me to do something for our National Holiday. Patriotism, or open patriotism is not part of the culture. This has complex reasons that have to do with history, culture and different languages in one country. When you bicker among yourselves so regularly, it is hard to build up that feeling of pride. And yet, the longer I stay in America, the more I also feel my love for Belgium grow. My roots become more and more precious to me, both Flemish and Belgian.
That's why I decided to throw a National Holiday Party. I invited a befriended couple and figured out that waffles should be the obvious choice. Since I could think of nothing else that went with waffles aside from breakfast (in Belgium waffles are a stand alone snack, or vijfuurtje -five o clock snack), I decided to marry two countries together and make breakfast for dinner.

On a whim, I decided to get some cardboard plates at Party City in the colours of the Belgian flag. I chose yellow plates, red small plates, and black cutlery and napkins. Displaying the Belgian flag, even on the National holiday is very rare. I doubt if even one percent of the Belgian households has a Belgian flag. Though the current political crisis is making more people aware of whether they feel Belgian or not. Maybe that is what inspired me as well.

I was happy to find an old red tablecloth that made everything stand out prettily and then I remembered.. for my bridal shower more than five years ago the ladies had chosen the theme of a "Worldwind" romance, and there had been American and Belgian flags for decoration. And I had saved those! Some cream earthenware cups were filled with rice and decorative stones and I put the Belgian flags in there for centerpieces. I added our St. Joseph statue as well, since he is the patron Saint of Belgium

We had a fun evening, in which I shared about my country, we discussed culture and difference, made waffles together, and chased children. The crunchy bacon was actually a huge hit. It barely made it to the table!
Looking over the pictures I am charmed at how effortless and fun everything came together. And I noticed afterwards, that even the food on my plate was black (grilled sausages), yellow (eggs and waffles) and red (bacon and strawberries for the waffles.) I hadn't purposely planned it that way, but it delighted me to see it!

How do you honour the cultures that are part of your heritage?

1 comment:

The Provincial Homemaker said...

WHat a lovely idea to celebrate your heritage and pass it onto your children.