Cycling is a popular recreational activity and competitive sport in Belgium. The country’s relatively flat terrain is well-suited to cycling, and trails and tracks abound. Belgium’s Eddie Merckx is considered one of the greatest cyclists of all times. Hiking, fishing, and canoeing are popular in the Ardennes in warmer months, with skiing and tobogganing drawing visitors to the region in the winter. Belgium’s national sport is soccer, and its team is called the Diables Rouges (Red Devils). Tennis gained in popularity as two Belgian women players, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne, established themselves as stars in the early 2000s.
Fairs and festivals play an important part in Belgian life. Fairs, usually known by the Flemish name of kermesse, are held in nearly all the cities and towns of the country during the summer months. On a larger scale, ten world’s fairs have been held in Belgium, the most recent in 1958. There are also many local festivals, often associated with religious observances. One of the most famous festivals is the three-day carnival at Binche, near Mons, held just before Lent. During the carnival, noisemaking and dancing are led by “Gilles,” men dressed in high, plumed hats and bright costumes. Another famous pageant is the Procession of the Holy Blood, held in Brugge in May. December 6 commemorates Saint Nicholas’s Day, an important children’s holiday. "Belgium" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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