Paris has the Eiffel Tower, San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge, and New York has the Statue of Liberty. See any of these iconic images, and you instantly know what they symbolize, and where you are.
For the last 400 years, Brussels has had Manneken Pis, a two-foot-high sculpture of a naked little boy, urinating into a fountain.
The intersection where Manneken Pis lives is always crowded with tourists trying to capture the perfect shot of the Great Symbol of Brussels. Shops in the area sell everything from life-size duplicates of the statue to smaller replicas made of Belgian chocolate.
The statue is usually nude, but sometimes it’s dressed in one of the thousand or so costumes that have been approved by the non-profit association that reviews the designs submitted each year, and accepts a small number of them. The earliest costume came from France’s King Louis XV in 1747, as an apology for a plot by French soldiers to steal the statue.
Dark Thoughts on an Easter Morning
I first saw Manneken Pis dressed as Dracula on Easter morning, and couldn’t help but wonder if someone was making a very subtle, very dark joke.
It seemed a strange choice for the holiday. Let’s see…besides Dracula, who else do we know who died, but then rose from the grave and went out in search of people to convert?
Of course, the use of that particular costume on Easter Sunday could have been just a coincidence, and any analogy might exist only in my mind—there’s no denying that I have a morbid taste for transgressive humour—but I sort of doubt it.