Festivals and traditions

Who will get the bean?

On 6 January each year, Luxembourgers celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. So who will be the kings and queens for the day in 2017?

06-epiphanieEvery year on 6 January, it is the custom in the Grand Duchy (as in many other European countries) to 'celebrate the kings'.

Epiphany - a historical festival

This traditional festival, known as Dräikinneksdag, has its origins in a pagan festival that used to celebrate light (because the days start getting longer from that exact date onwards).

It was incorporated in the Christian faith to celebrate the visit of the three wise men, or kings, to the baby Jesus. Epiphany remained the one and only major festival celebrating the manifestation of Christ in the world until the end of the 14th century. And because its circular shape and golden colour are reminiscent of the sun, a round pastry came to symbolise the festival.

Luxembourgish tradition

That is why nowadays each year Luxembourgers eat a 'galette des rois' (or 'kings' pastry'), traditionally with an almond-flavoured filling, in which is concealed a bean, the finder of which is designated king or queen for the day. It is traditional for the designated king or queen to wear a cardboard crown. Unlike in Spain, Finland, Italy and Switzerland, 6 January is not a statutory public holiday in the Grand Duchy.

 

(article written by the editorial team of the portal luxembourg.lu)

  • Updated 05-01-2017