(Reuters) - Belgium celebrated Saint Arnould, the Patron Saint of brewers, on Friday by blessing a barrel of beer in a Brussels cathedral.
Dressed in costumes and accompanied by a band, the knights of the "Brewer's Paddle," or Belgian Brewers' Guild, marched from the city's iconic Grand Palace to the altar where the consecration ceremony was held.
According to the tradition, Saint Arnould was the son of a brewer and therefore learned the secrets of brewing at an early age.
"It's a great moment of conviviality. Knights meet there, we forget about competition," said Michel Tasnier, who has been a member of the "Knighthood" for 27 years. "The key word of this is the quality of beer, produced with knowledge and drunk with wisdom."
Xavier Pirlot, production manager at Chimay Brewery, also spoke highly of the event.
"It's the day, the D-day of my year, of my brewing year," said Pirlot. "It's the opportunity for me to meet my colleagues and to celebrate our beer."
The ceremony is followed by "Beer Weekend," an event gathering all brewers on the Grand Place to get the public to discover Belgium's best brews.
Reporting by Reuters TV; Editing by Dan Grebler