The very first Monday after Twelfth Night (Jan. 6) is a very special day for Antwerp. It is called Verloren Maandag (Lost Monday) and is accompanied by free sausage or apple rolls in popular bars. The origins for this feast are very old and nobody really knows what is its origin.
One theory says that the Sunday after Twelfth Night was the day on which new city officials took oath, and on the next day everybody took free, so it was a Lost Monday. A variation on this story tells us that the traditional guilds held festivities for the New Year of the Monday after Twelfth Night. The guild members went from door to door to pass on the dean’s wishes to the population of the town, and of course they also had to call on the doors of inns. To keep the guests a little longer inside and promote the drinking, the patrons offered them a hot salty combination of bread and (cheap) sausage.
Specifically for Antwerp there is a story that it was a tradition for people working in the harbour that on this day they were allowed to eat and drink freely. Of course the bosses chose for food that filled the stomachs in a cheap way and so the traditional sausage roll was invented.
Still another theory says sausage rolls were invented by butchers. They usually had a lot of leftovers from the preceeding festive days and turned these in a roll and to disguise the meat was not that fresh anymore, wrapped it in a dough clothing.
Nowadays sausage rolls can be bought at the baker’s all year round, but on Verloren Maandag the showcase window of every bakery store is filled with the popular rolls.
Should you happen to drop in to a bar on Lost Monday, don’t be surprised if the landlord offers you a hot sausage roll! Cheers!