UNESCO honours hunting horn music


UNESCO has recognised the musical art of hunting horn players as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The hunting horn is a brass or copper wind instrument used to signal the different hunt activities with slow or short and high or low pitched sounds

In Belgium, hunting horn music automatically evokes the Ardennes, yet Belgium has 14 bands in Wallonia and Brussels and eight in Flanders.

This instrument, hunting activities and its patron saint have always been linked. So Saint-Hubert has been honoured since the 9th century in the city that bears his name, especially on 3 November, his feast day. This day sees the blessing of the hunters, their dogs and their horses, who are all placed under his protection. This ceremony is naturally an opportunity for a huge hunting horn concert.

Brussels also honours the saint. Since 1882, the Cercle Royal Saint-Hubert hunting horn band has paid tribute to its patron saint, an apostle and civiliser, every year on 3 November in the church of Notre Dame des Victoires in Sablon.

The horns also resound around the country. For two weeks every year, the spotlight is on hunting with hounds in the wooded area of Wiemesmeer, near Zutendaal; it is a perfect opportunity for the "Gezellen van Sint Hubertus" (companions of Saint Hubert) horn players, in full dress, to practise their art.

The musical art of the hunting horn players thus joins beer culture, the Brussels Ommegang, the Binche carnival, shrimp fishing in Oostduinkerke and the Marches of Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.