As we're approaching May, we also get closer to Luxembourg's May Day tradition!

Every year on May 1st, Luxembourg celebrates the arrival of spring with a unique tradition known as "Meekranz." "Meekranz", meaning "May wreath" in Luxembourgish, is a longstanding tradition that involves gathering wildflowers and greenery from the forest and creating a wreath, which is then hung up at the doorstep of the house.

Nowadays it symbolizes the beginning of spring and the celebration of May Day, but it is rooted in pagan practices from the rural areas of Luxembourg. Back then, people scattered herbs and palm branches through the houses to ward off evil spirits.

Previously, real May trees were erected, especially by young men who would plant a tree in the garden of their sweetheart, or by townsfolk who would plant a tree in front of the mayor's house as a sign of appreciation. But today inhabitants "settle" for a simple wreath made out of a few branches and leaves, that can usually be found in the closest field.


May tree in Germany. / © Gettyimages/Teka77

Nowadays, in some villages part of the tradition is to create larger May wreaths and carry them in a procession. After showing them off, they are subsequently hung up above doors or on buildings. On the morning of May 1st, people hang their Meekranz wreaths on their front doors and windows, leaving them on display throughout the day.



If the weather permits, Luxembourgers spend the day doing a BBQ outdoors, or taking part in local festivities. Depending on the village, you can find different activities such as concerts, cultural activities, or even Meekranz competitions!



Labour Day

On an international level, May 1st is celebrated as it marks Labour Day. In Luxembourg, trade unions voice their demands and goals concerning social rights, such as the regulation of working hours, paid leave, and social protection for employees. A series of discussions are usually held at the Abbaye de Neumunster in Luxembourg City, but also workshops, shows and other festivities.

Have a sip of May

Another tradition for the first of May is this alcoholic concoction, called "Maitrank" (May drink). It's made from the sweet nectar of woodruff, and can also be found in the region around Arlon, in Belgium.

Here's the recipe from


  • 6 litres of white wine (Elbling, Auxerrois, Rivaner, Riesling - your choice)
  • 750g untreated oranges
  • 2.5 untreated lemons
  • 525g fine sugar
  • 27ml Cognac
  • 50ml white Portwine
  • 40g woodruff; make sure you only pick plants which haven't yet bloomed.


  1. Carefully wash the woodruff to get rid of any impurities.
  2. Cut the oranges and lemons into slices.
  3. Mix all of the ingredients in a large, hermetically-sealing container.
  4. Let this mixture macerate for 36 to 48 hours, according to taste. A longer maceration will make the woodruff-taste stronger.
  5. Filter the liquid, e.g. through a kitchen towel.

Serve chilled in a glass with a slice of orange. Alternatively, you can also add some Crémant (what else?).

Maitrank can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.


Woodruff. / © The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

So there you have it! Meekranz is a unique and cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations, always changing and evolving. But one thing it did keep is its strong sense of community.
The day brings people together and is a celebration of nature, community and culture.

So, if you're feeling adventurous, go explore Luxembourg's forests, pick up some branches and leaves and get your hands on some woodruff - the key to this simple yet oh-so-delightful recipe. Bottoms up!