Festivals and traditions

Epiphany is a Christian feast celebrated in Luxembourg on 6 January, to remember the arrival of the Three Kings by the side of the Child Jesus.

© Thinkstock / iStockphoto / Victoria1988
Epiphany is a Christian feast celebrated in Luxembourg on 6 January, to remember the arrival of the Three Wise Men by the side of the Child Jesus. On the day, a 'Dräikinnegskuch' is bought, a puff pastry pie filled with Frangipane, an almond flavoured paste. A small china figurine is hidden inside the cake while baking it. Whoever finds it, is crowned king or queen of the day and can put on the crown that accompanies the cake.

© Thinkstock / iStockphoto / MillefloreImages
2 February is St. Blaise's day, also known as Liichtmëssdag in Luxembourg! It's an ancient celebration aiming to bring light to homes after a dark and cold winter.

© SIP
Groups of children walk from door to door with their Liichtebengelcher (literally: sticks that are lit), lanterns made of coloured paper.

© SIP
On their path, they sing a song called Léiwer Härgottsblieschen. According to the lyrics, the children ask for bacon and small peas, although today, they are more likely to receive candy and money.

© SIP
In Luxembourg, the Carneval festivities start on Liichtmëssdag on 2 February (Candlemas) and end on Äschermëttwoch (Ash Wednesday, beginning of March). The masquerade balls and carneval parades are most likely to take place on Fuessonndeg (Easter Sunday) and Fuessméindeg ( Easter Monday). During the period of Carnival, almost all villages organise masquerade balls for children.

© SIP / Christof Weber
In Luxembourg, the Carneval festivities start on Liichtmëssdag on 2 February (Candlemas) and end on Äschermëttwoch (Ash Wednesday, beginning of March). The masquerade balls and carneval parades are most likely to take place on Fuessonndeg (Easter Sunday) and Fuessméindeg ( Easter Monday). During the period of Carnival, almost all villages organise masquerade balls for children.

© SIP / Jean-Paul Kieffer
In Luxembourg, the Carneval festivities start on Liichtmëssdag on 2 February (Candlemas) and end on Äschermëttwoch (Ash Wednesday, beginning of March). The masquerade balls and carneval parades are most likely to take place on Fuessonndeg (Easter Sunday) and Fuessméindeg ( Easter Monday). During the period of Carnival, almost all villages organise masquerade balls for children.

© SIP / Jean-Paul Kieffer
Not only is Carnival a good occasion to celebrate, it is also the season of culinary discoveries. Seen here is a Verwurrelt Gedanken (lit.: blurred thought), consisting of fried dough in the shape of a knot.

© SIP
In Remich, the burning of the Stréimännchen (straw man) on the bridge that crosses the Moselle river traditionally puts an end to the Carnival season.

© Administration communale de Remich
On the first Sunday after Carnival, bonfires light up the sky everywhere in the country. The unforgettable sight is part of a Luxembourgish tradition known as Buergbrennen, whose roots go a long way back.

© SIP
The Buergbrennen takes place on the first Sunday after Carnival, around the Spring Equinox (first day of Spring).

© SIP
Prior to the Buergbrennen, village associations try to pile up as much wood and sometimes old Christmas trees, as they can. The whole village then gathers around a glass of mulled wine, often to the tune of local bands.

© SIP
The Bretzelsonndeg (Pretzel Sunday) takes place on the 4th Sunday of Lent (March/April). Traditionally on that day, a man offers a pretzel to his sweetheart.

© SIP / Zineb Ruppert
If the loved one accepts the gift, the man will get an Easter egg in return. If not, she will give back an empty basket - that is where the Luxembourgish saying De Kuerf kréien (being dumped) originates from.

© SIP / Zineb Ruppert
In Luxembourg, Easter is celebrated by colouring eggs. Eggs symbolise fertility and are traditionally brought about by the Easter bunny, the Ouschterhues.

© Thinkstock / iStockphoto / scampdesigns
Children are especially looking forward to the Easter hunt because they can search for Easter eggs, gifts and sweets that the Easter bunny has hidden from them.

© Thinkstock / iStockphoto / Stockbyte
On Eastermonday, traditional markets open in Luxembourg-City and in the village of Nospelt. Here you can buy Péckvillercher, small birds made of baked clay that make it possible to imitate the sounds of the cuckoo when blown.

© SIP / Marc Schoentgen
Between April and October, the different villages elect their wine-queen, who then becomes the official 'Wine Ambassador' of that area.

© Photo-Club "Flash" Grevenmacher / Carlo Rinnen
The hillsides of the Moselle are known for their pleasant climate, their rich wines and 'Crémants', a champagne-like wine.

© Alain Goedert / Comité des Fêtes Grevenmacher
The celebrations mobilise revellers from all over the country. The annual Grape Festival in Grevenmacher and its traditional parade, at which wine is being distributed, is very popular among masses.

© Photo-Club "Flash" Grevenmacher
The Wäimoart, the wine market, takes place in April every year. This is the place to taste the new vintage and start debating with other wine-enthousiasts.

© Paul Frantzen / Commission de Promotion Vins et Crémants Luxembourg
Every year, in either April or May, the pilgrimage to the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Luxembourg, also known as the Oktav, takes place. Thousands of pilgrims gather at the cathedral, in order to pay their respects to Mary, the mother of.

© SIP
The tradition goes back to 1666, year in which the virgin Mary was elected patron saint of the country in order to root out the Plagque that was raging in Luxembourg.

© SIP / Marcel Schmitz
Over the centuries, a market was established on the Place Guillaume II to give the pilgrims the chance to refresh themselves. The Mäertchen consists mostly of culinary stands but gifts to remember the pilgrimage can also be bought.

© SIP / Jean-Paul Kieffer
The Oktav concludes with a final procession and the participation of the grand ducal family.

© SIP / Jean-Paul Kieffer
In the winter of 1944, during the battle of the Ardennes, the residents of Wiltz had to hide in caves and thus promised themselves to erect a sanctuary, if ever they made it out safe and sound.

© SIP / Charles Caratini
In 1952 a sanctuary in honour of Fatima was inaugurated. From 1968 onwards the Portuguese community organised an annual pilgrimage that is increasingly growing in participants. As of today, thousands of pilgrims, mostly of Portuguese nationality, visit the sanctuary.

© SIP / Charles Caratini
On 1 May, local associations weave crowns made of green leaves, also called Meekranz. They are attached to either the municipal administration or a café serving, for instance, as registered office or meeting place.

© Claude Piscitelli
1 May is also known as Labour Day, a day of union meetings with the purpose of bringing together as many activists as possible.

© SIP / Nicolas Bouvy
The Geenzefest (Festival of the broom) takes place every Pentacost Monday in Wiltz. The festival honours the broom, a shrub that produces a yellow flower emblematic of the area.

© Thinkstock / iStockphoto / hemeroskopion
The festivities extend over several days and end with an impressive genista parade.

© Fotoclub Wooltz
The Geenzefest (Festival of the broom) takes place every Pentacost Monday in Wiltz. The festival honours the broom, a shrub that produces a yellow flower emblematic of the area. The festivities extend over several days and end with an impressive genista parade.

© Fotoclub Wooltz
The Dancing Procession in Echternach takes place on Whit Tuesday. It brings together thousands of participants and spectators in the small town on the bank of the river Sûre.

© SIP / Géry Oth
The Dancing Procession dates back to the 8th century. When the missionary Saint Willibrord was summoned to heal the the St Vitus' dance - Echternach became a place of pilgrimage.

© ORT Mullerthal - Petite Suisse Luxembourgeoise / Alain Muller
Dozens of groups hop around through the streets of Echternach, accompanied by music played by bands. Two steps to the left, two steps to the right - that is how you make it from the starting point to the Basilica of St. Willibrord.

© SIP / Géry Oth
The Luxembourgish tradition has been listed on the UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list since 2010.

© SIP
On 23 June, Luxembourg celebrates its National Day, also known as the Groussherzogsgebuertsdag, the Grand Duke's birthday. Despite its name, it is not the exact date of birth of the Grand Duke - the date was chosen under the reign of Grand Duchess Charlotte.

© SIP / Charles Caratini
Festivities start on the 22 June with the solemn Changing the Guard ceremony in front of the grand ducal palace.

© SIP / Charles Caratini
The same day, the grand ducal couple goes to a specific village or town in Luxembourg to visit the local population.

© Cour grand-ducale / Claude Piscitelli
As for the hereditary grand ducal couple, they visit Esch-sur-Alzette and mingle with the crowd.

© SIP / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen
The torchlight procession is a memorable moment on the eve of national day: a dozen of associations and folk groups march through Luxembourg-city, in the presence of the Grand-Ducal family.

© SIP / Charles Caratini
The evening ends with fireworks lighting up the sky everywhere in the country. Fireworks in Luxembourg-City are especially impressive because they are visible from well beyond the borders of the city.

© SIP / Charles Caratini
The evening ends with fireworks lighting up the sky everywhere in the country. Fireworks in Luxembourg-City are especially impressive because they are visible from well beyond the borders of the city.

© SIP / Charles Caratini
Am 23. Juni findet die zivile Zeremonie statt, in Anwesenheit der Mitglieder der Regierung, des Großherzogs und der Mitglieder der Zivilgesellschaft.

© SIP / Luc Deflorenne
Before noon, the traditional taking of arms takes place in the Avenue de la Liberté, attracting thousands of spectators every year. Besides the army, the grand ducal police and the rescue services also parade in front of the Grand Duke.

© SIP / Emmanuel Claude
Later in the day, in the presence of the grand ducal family, the Te Deum takes place in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. It is a religious ceremony, rounding off the public festivities of National Day.

© SIP / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen
Every year, at the end of August, the largest fun fair in Europe, the Schueberfouer, takes place on the Glacis. The Glacis is a vast parking space between the city centre and the suburb of Limpertsberg.

© SIP
The fun fair originates from 1340 and counts almost 2 million visitors each year.

© SIP / Jean-Paul Kieffer
The Hämmelsmarsch marks the beginning of the Schueberfouer (or Fouer): a flock of sheep is accompanied by a marching band, playing the famous Hämmelsmarsch ( march of the sheep)

© Laurent Schwaller (www.schueberfouer.lu)
Between fun rides, lotteries and culinary stands, people of all ages celebrate to the sounds of music and screams of fun.

© Laurent Schwaller (www.schueberfouer.lu)
Whereas the older ones tend to prefer high-speed games, the younger ones like to fish for plastic ducks or take a ride on the carousel.

© Laurent Schwaller (www.schueberfouer.lu)
Culinary specialties not to miss are, on one hand the Fouerfësch, whiting fried in brewer's yeast, and on the other hand, Gromperekichelcher, potato pancakes.

© SIP / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen
Once the sun sets, the spectacle takes on a new dimension: the Glacis is immersed in thousands of lights, becoming even more festive.

© Laurent Schwaller (www.schueberfouer.lu)
All Saints' Day is a traditional catholic festivity honouring all of the saints. On this occasion, believers and non-believers gather in the churchyards in order to commemorate their deceased dear ones. This is most often accompanied by a religious ceremony and a blessing of graves.

© Roger Nilles / cathol.lu
More folkloric and slightly more lighthearted, the "Trauliicht" (a hollowed, ornamented and candlelit beetroot) is supposed to provide protection against evil spirits. This tradition, which was held high in the north of the country until the 1970s, has recently been revived by the ever-rising popularity of Halloween (which is essentially the Anglo-Irish version of the "Trauliicht").

© Tourist Center ASBL
6 December marks St Nicholas' Day: in Luxembourgish, he is called Kleeschen.

© SIP / Zineb Ruppert
The Kleeschen awards good children with gifts and candy.

© SIP / Zineb Ruppert
In advance of Kleeschersdag (Saint Nicolas Day), he visits local schools and public places and distributes Titercher: small packets filled with candy and chocolate.

© SIP / Zineb Ruppert
His helper is known as the Houseker, 'Bogeyman' or 'Black Peter'. He hands out switches to children who have been naughty

© SIP / Zineb Ruppert
Christmas approaches with the establishement of Christmas markets everywhere in the country in the preceding weeks.

© SIP / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen
Especially the one in Luxembourg City is worth a detour: one can either drink a glass of mulled wine, eat a Gromperekichelchen or buy a Christmas present.

© SIP
Christmas in Luxembourg is foremost a family celebration, celebrated with a Chrëschtbeemchen (a Christmas tree) decorated with Christmas ornaments and lights.

© SIP / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen
The majority of homes make the use of an Adventskalenner, an advent calendar.

© SIP
On the 4th Sunday before Christmas Eve, the first candle of the Adventskranz, the Christmas wreath, is lit. On the Sunday before Christmas Eve, the four lit candles give the whole room a festive note.

© SIP
On the eve of 24 December, many Luxembourgers go to the Midnight Mass (Metten) or the Christmas Mass on the 25 December.

© Christophe Hubert / cathol.lu
The 24th and 25th December are spent with family.

© Thinkstock / iStockphoto / Artfoliophoto
On the eve of the 31 December, the new year is being celebrated either with family or friends. Traditionally, people take a meal together that sometimes lasts far into the night.

© Paul Frantzen / Commission de Promotion Vins et Crémants Luxembourg
At midnight, fireworks can be seen and heard from everywhere in the country. People tend to drink a toast to the New Year with a glass of Crémant.

© SIP / Charles Caratini
  • Updated 08-09-2017