The religious festival "Ommegang" dates from the Middle Ages and is still celebrated in Antwerp. The event takes place on August 15, and was originally organized in two parts: The first celebrated the Virgin's Ascension to heaven, whereas the second was a secular event when the town guilds would each sponsor a float in a procession through the streets of Antwerp. The individuals took particular pride in their contributions, and there was a considerable rivalry between the guilds to provide the most splendid display. It is probable that Pieter Coecke van Aelst designed some of the floats depicted.
Bredael painted the scene on at least two other occasions during a span of ten years; there is a signed version of 1697 in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille, and an earlier one, dated 1689, sold at Christie's, London, 13 December 1996, lot 233.