Home DestinationsWestern EuropeBelgium Get Lucky: The Right Way to Rub a Statue

Get Lucky: The Right Way to Rub a Statue

by Sandy

People build statues of heroes. The Greeks built statues of Hercules and Adonis.  The British built statues of Nelson and Churchill.  The Egyptians, Colossi of Memnon.  We Americans build statues of our heroes, too.  Like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Heroes usually only get statues when they’re dead.  And, when a person travels hundreds or thousands of miles to see a statue, sometimes looking isn’t enough. Sometimes, he or she wants to touch it.  And it’s always lucky to touch a hero statue.

But should you?

The short answer is most of the time.  As long as you are respectful of local customs and traditions and it’s not prohibited by local law, I say do it.  Please be mindful that rubbing statues can have negative effects, too. Erosion and bacterial infections are two such potential negative consequences.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you might remember that I adore a good scavenger hunt, especially one involving statues.  Some of my favorites are Monument of an Abecedarian in Kraków, Greyfrairs Bobby in Edinburgh and Mannekis Pis in Brussels.  It’s actually my affection for Mannekin that brought me back to Brussels today.

But just around the corner from Mannekin is the Everard t’Serclaes monument on the Grand-Place.  During the 14th century, Everard was lord of Kruikenburg and a citizen of Brussels made famous because he took the city back from the Flemings.  Over his long, lustrous career, Everard was even made alderman of the city five times.  As an old man, he successfully led the opposition to the selling of a section of crown land to Sweder of Abcoude, lord of Gaasbeek.  Angered by this, a group led by Sweder’s illegitimate son ambushed, beat and mutilated Everard on the road from Lennik to Brussels.  Five days later, Everard succumbed to his gruesome injuries.

Beautifully commemorated by this monument in brass, Everard lives on in the hearts and minds of the people of Brussels.  Local legend has it that the statue brings good luck and grants the wishes of all who touch it.   You can easily see the parts that get rubbed the most, but I make sure to rub the face of the angel.   However, many people, including myself, also rub the arm because legend also has it that rubbing the arm will ensure a return to Brussels.

Sometimes, I wonder, “Whatever happened to rest in peace?” But I think Everard doesn’t mind.   And I’ll bet he enjoys the attention.

Sandy Nelson, owner of The Sandy Papers, a boutique travel agency specializing in Europe and the Exotics.

Ready to book YOUR next adventure?  Hit me up!  Europe and the Exotics are my speciality and I’m very good at what I do.  Warmly, Sandy (703) 975-1747

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