TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Brussels’ Manneken-Pis, the little bronze statue of a urinating boy, was dressed in the traditional garments of Taiwan's Hakka people Wednesday as a way to promote Hakka culture, said Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
Manneken-Pis is one of the must-see attractions when traveling to Brussels. Built in the 15th century, it initially functioned as a fountain distributing drinking water to the locals. Nowadays, located at a busy intersection of an old shopping quarter, the statue has become a symbol of the city and it draws approximately three million visitors every year.
An official ceremony for the clothing delivery was held on Wednesday. Taiwan’s representative to Belgium and the EU Tseng, Ho-jen (曾厚仁) handed the tailor-made Hakka clothes to an official of the Brussels city government, said MOFA.
Manneken-Pis’ Hakka top is of a traditional design, which is usually in plain black or dark blue without elaborate patterns, except for the buttoning ribbon stretching from neck to below the right armpit at the front of the top. The garments were provided by Taiwan’s Hakka Affairs Council, said MOFA.
In addition, a group of Nei Pu Elementary School pupils from Taiwan’s Pingtung County performed a Hakka hill song and dance during the ceremony.
The whole event served “as part of the friendship between Taiwan and Belgium,” read the website for the Manneken-Pis' statue.
MOFA said the ceremony was joined by many Belgium-based Taiwanese people as well as tourists from around the world.
Now the second-largest ethnic group in the country, the ancestors of Taiwan's Hakka people migrated from China’s Guangdong or Fujian Province as early as the 17th century, when the island was colonized by the Dutch. As of now, the Hakka people account for roughly 13.6 percent of the entire Taiwanese population.
According to the Brussels city government, Manneken-Pis receives clothes regularly and is dressed up for big events, and occasionally, Manneken-Pis thanks the people by "producing beer or other beverages."
(Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)