The iconic statuette of Brussels, called “Manneken Pis,” (or “Little pissing Man,”) will be dressed like an Evzone on March 25, the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution.
A special ceremony will be held in the center of the Belgian capital to honor the Greek War of Independence.
Brussels will join the rest of the world which will turn Greek for the bicentennial on March 25.
In every corner of the globe where members of the Greek Diaspora are present, the anniversary will be marked as iconic landmarks will be illuminated in blue and white.
The event in Brussels that will take place in the presence Belgian officials and the Greek ambassador to Belgium, Dionysios Kalambrezos.
The long history of the Evzones
The elite military unit that has the size of a batallion was established by a royal decree on December 12, 1868.
Today’s Evzones, which form the Greek Presidential Guard, are the last unit of Evzones in the Greek Army, the historical elite light infantry and mountain units known for their hard-won victories against the nation’s enemies.
The Evzones guard the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, the memorial of all the soldiers in Greek history who have died in battle since ancient times.
Statue is the symbol of Brussels
The whimsical bronze statuette, measuring only 61 cm (24 inches) high, is located near the main square of Brussels, called La Grand Place, and is a symbol of the city, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.
It was designed by Jérôme Duquesnoy the Elder (1570–1641), and put in place in 1618 or 1619.
The current statue is a replica which dates from 1965. The original is kept in the Brussels City Museum.
The Manneken Pis embodies the Brussels sense of humor (called zwanze in the Brussels dialect) as well as their free spirit.
There are several legends behind the Manneken Pis, but the most famous is the one about Duke Godfrey III of Leuven.
In the year 1142, the troops of the two-year-old Duke were battling against the troops of the Berthouts, the Lords of Grimbergen, in Ransbeke (now Neder-Over-Heembeek).
The troops put the infant aristocrat in a basket and hung the basket in a tree to encourage the others to fight. From there, the boy reportedly urinated on the troops of the Berthouts, who eventually lost the battle.