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Make a wish: Four places to throw coins for luck in Belgium
At the bottom of most fountains and ponds, you will often find scatterings of coins thrown in by optimistic wish-makers. The most notable of these places is the Trevi Fountain in Rome. However, Belgium also has its fair share of lucky places for visitors to cast their coins.
Minnewater in Bruges, or “lake of love”, got its name from the legend of a young girl, Minna, and her lover. Minna’s father had arranged a marriage for her, but Minna was in love with a warrior from another tribe. To prevent the marriage, she fled into the woods. When her lover finally found her, she died in his arms of exhaustion. He buried Minna at the site of what would eventually become the lake. It is said that if two lovers kiss on the bridge and throw a coin into the lake, their love will be eternal.
Most people are familiar with Manneken Pis, the famed statue of a young boy urinating in Brussels. Far fewer know the story of Mannekin Pis’s sister, Jeanneke Pis. In 1985, a restaurant owner in Brussels commissioned a statue of a young girl urinating in a similar fashion to Manneken Pis to be erected near his restaurant. The statue can be found in Impasse de la Fidélité, where people throw coins at its base for luck in fidelity.
Fountains are not the only place visitors toss coins with hopes of finding luck. The Basilica of Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel, located in Scherpenheuvel-Zichem (Flemish Brabant), was consecrated in 1627. At the ceremony, the Archduchess Isabelle threw her jewellery on to the alter, which is believed to be the origin of the tradition. Visitors still toss coins onto the steps of the Basilica today.
During the last week of August, the city of Ath hosts a festival celebrating the history of the biblical story of Goliath. This celebration is the reason Ath is often called the "City of Giants". During the parade, onlookers throw coins on to the streets as the giants march by. These coins then get picked up by participants in the parade. This tradition supposedly brings the spectators good luck.