Like their neighbours, Luxembourgers love to celebrate Carnival, which traditionally takes place from 2 February ('Liichtmëssdag' or Candlemas Day) through to Ash Wednesday ('Aschermëttwoch', in early March).
During this period, including the 'Fuessonnden' (Carnival Sunday) and 'Fuesméinden' (Carnival Monday), Luxembourgish associations organise a multitude of masked balls, parades and cavalcades for both children and adults.
The masked balls at three other places are particularly well-known as meeting places for 'fools': Echternach, Vianden and Wormeldange.
Don't forget to sample typical Luxembourgish Carnival goodies, including:
Verwurrelt Gedanken (scrambled thoughts) — knots of pastry sprinkled with icing sugar,
Nonnefäscht (nuns' farts) — doughnuts sprinkled with icing sugar,
Täertelcher — doughnuts,
Maisercher — mouse-shaped donuts, and
Stretzegebäck — small cakes made of pastry that is scalded before being baked.
The end of Carnival each year is marked by the burning of the 'Stréimännchen' (straw man): on Ash Wednesday, hundreds of Luxembourgers head for Remich for this joyful 'killing' which marks the end of winter as well as the end of Carnival.
However, Luxembourgish people are not as strict as their German neighbours: a number of masked balls and cavalcades are held even after this date, including the Pétange Cavalcade.
Carnival continues until the 4th Sunday during Lent (Halleffaaschten), also known as Bretzelsonndeg (pretzel Sunday).
During the festive season, the Luxembourg City Tourist Office, in close collaboration with the City of Luxembourg, offers more than 200 concerts and events in the heart of the Christmas markets in Luxembourg City. The "Winterlights" festival turns the city into a magical and wonderful setting with thousands of lights. The Christmas markets offer a diversified program of activities and concerts for young and old. This year, the program evolves around three main themes: children's activities, concerts and walking acts. To provide better orientation to visitors, a description of the animation genre has been added to the themes for example: brass band/harmony, choir, live music or workshop. Join us, we have something in store for every taste… from luxembourg-city.com
Fête de la MusiqueFurther information
The "Fête de la Musique" is a big, popular event in honour of the musicians and performers, amateurs or professionals who want to produce themselves there. Entry is free. Concerts by 25 different organizers are offered throughout the country for 6 days. In Luxembourg City, a total of 22 stages are be set up in the centre and above all in the residential districts of the capital to bring the idea of the Fête de la Musique even closer to the public and to bring it to the people. Photo: MMFE [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons
National HolidayFurther information
Luxembourg's national holiday is celebrated every year on 23rd June. Since the end of the 18th century it was a tradition to celebrate the birthday of the respective ruler. Although William III was born on February 19, 1850, this holiday was moved to June 17th, the birthday of his wife, Queen Sophie. This is also due to the proximity to the anniversary of the death of his brother, Prince Alexander, who died on February 20th, 1848. Under Grand Duchess Charlotte the ceremony took place on 23rd January, in the middle of winter. Therefore in 1961 – for purely climatic reasons – it was decided to celebrate the Grand Duchess' birthday on 23rd June. This date was maintained when Grand Duke Jean ascended the throne on 12th November 1964, probably because it was the day before his name day Jean (John), which is celebrated as Gehaansdag on 24 June. Even under the current Grand Duke Henri the date is still valid, but it is no longer directly related to the monarch. [This text is based on the article "Luxemburgischer Nationalfeiertag" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and is licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported (short version). A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.]
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