Known as the famed Manneken Pis, or “Little Pissing Man,” the most famous statue in Brussels and a symbol of the humorous and independent spirit of the people of Belgium, went Greek for a day, donning a mini Evzone outfit.
The dressing was part of Belgium’s tribute to Greek Independence Day and the Bicentennial celebrations taking place throughout the world to mark the momentous anniversary.
The statue was installed in 1618 and is one of the city’s main tourist sites. The era of Instagram has propelled the little urinating boy to global status, as tourists flock to see which uniform he might be wearing on any given day.
Numerous legends abound about the origins of the statue. One legend is that of a small boy who went missing from his mother, when shopping in the center of the city. The woman, panic-stricken by the loss of her child, called upon everyone she came across, including the mayor of the city. A citywide search began, and when at last the child was found, he was urinating on the corner of a small street.
Another legend tells of the young boy who was awoken by a fire and was able to put out the fire with his urine. In the end, this helped stop the king’s castle from burning down.
Since the statue’s casting, costumes have been used to decorate the boy. The oldest-known costume dates to the 17th century. Over time, the statue’s wardrobe grew and a tradition unfolded to change the costume a few times per week during a colorful ceremony.
Today, the peeing boy has over 1,000 costumes. Many costumes represent the national dress of nations whose citizens come to Brussels as tourists; others are the uniforms of assorted trades, professions, associations, and branches of the civil and military services.
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