1 May - Meekranz

May wreaths decorate the entrance to the cafe "Beim Fisschen"
Claude Piscitelli
On 1 May, in towns and villages throughout the Grand Duchy, wreaths of grass-green foliage are in evidence here and there. These 'Meekränz', which are usually made by local associations, are hung on the front of a building in the centre of the town or village: the municipal authorities' office or a café.

In our part of the world there used to be a number of traditions connected with month of May, all going back much further than the International Workers' Day or Labour Day celebrated on 1 May. They were often connected with pagan sacrificial festivals before being incorporated in Christian customs. For instance, to keep evil spirits at bay, blessed herbs and consecrated palm branches were once scattered throughout houses, stables and barns, large crosses were drawn in chalk on doors and rooms were sprinkled with holy water, which was subsequently also consumed.

While previously, real May trees were erected, today many Luxembourg inhabitants merely head into the forest on 1 May to collect branches with fresh leaves and weave them into Meekränz (May wreaths), which are then carried into the villages and towns in a procession and eventually hung up above house doors and on façades. The start of the warm sunny season is thus heralded and frequently doused with a brisk drinking session, during which more than just the so-called May wine flows.

(Source: About ... Festivals and traditions)

  • Updated 28-04-2015