About King's Feast
When is King's Feast?
This day is celebrated annually on November 15th. It is not a national holiday but most government offices will close. It may also be known as 'Dynasty Day', or the 'Feast of the Dynasty'.
History of King's Feast
The feast was first celebrated in honour of King Leopold I (1790-1865) who was the first monarch of Belgium following its independence from the Netherlands in 1831.
King Leopold I was named after St. Leopold, whose feast is celebrated on this day in the German liturgical calendar. St. Leopold's Feast Day is a public holiday in Vienna, Austria.
The King's Feast has been celebrated in Belgium on November 15th since 1866 when Leopold II decreed it.
From 1909 to 1912, the date of the holiday was changed to the November 26th, which is St Albert’s Day, to mark the name of the monarch currently on the throne, King Albert I. However, his mother, Princess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, died on November 26th 1912, so King Albert I decided to change the date back to November 15th until the end of World War I. However, King Leopold III, who succeeded him, did not make any changes, and King Baudouin decided in 1951 that from 1952 the date should remain set on November 15th.
Between 1944 and 1950, because the country had a Prince Regent, the holiday temporarily changed its name to Dynasty Day. This denomination is still used today, but it is wrong, as is noted in a 1953 circular letter from the Belgian Interior Ministry.
Until 2000, the church service was the only event held to celebrate the day; since the dawn of the new millennium, however, the Belgian Federal Parliament holds a ceremony in honour of the King, in the presence of members of the Belgian Royal Family and other dignitaries.
A Te Deum (or Thanksgiving Service) is held every year on November 15th in St Michael and Gudule Cathedral in Brussels to celebrate King’s Day.
It is recognised as the official birthday of the King.
A King's Feast with no King?
In Belgium the King and the Queen do not actually attend the King's Feast, as the custom is that they should not be seen to celebrate themselves. Other members of the royal family will attend instead.