© Luc Marteling / RTL
Easter is almost upon us and with it comes a number of peculiar traditions such as "Klibberen." An old Catholic tradition, "Klibberen" used to be done by altar boys, and would last from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday.
Now however, young boys and girls alike have taken over these religious rites. You may spot them patrolling the streets, morning, afternoons and evenings, armed with rattles. More likely is, you'll hear them and the noise they're making. Try not to be alarmed, as it's nothing nefarious. Participation is voluntary, but rewards in the shape of money, chocolate and Easter eggs are very welcome.
What they sing:
- From 6am onwards: "D'Moiesklack laut" (the morning bell is ringing)
- After 12pm: "D'Mëttesklack laut" (the afternoon bell is ringing)
- From 6pm onwards: "D'Owesklack laut" (the evening bell is ringing)
- Half an hour before mass: "D'Klack laut fir d'éischt" (The bell rings once)
- 15 minutes before mass: "D'Klack laut fir d'zweet"(The bell rings twice)
- 5 minutes before mass: "D'Klack laut of" (The bell is ending)
- D'Ouschtere sinn do, d'Ouschtere sinn do. Gitt eis déi Eeër eraus, déi rout, déi wäiss, déi blo. (Easter is here, Easter is here, give us Easter eggs, the red, the white, the blue!)
- Dik dik dak, dik dik dak, muer ass Ouschterdag! Mir hu misse klibbere goen, fréi a spéit a bis an d'Nuecht, dofir komme mir Iech froen, hunn Är Hénger och geluecht. Dik dik dak, dik dik dak, muer ass Ouschterdag! ([...]dik-dik-dak, tomorrow is Easter Day, we had to go ring our bells, early in the morning and late into the nights, that’s why we come to ask you, have your hends laid eggs, [...]dik-dik-dak, tomorrow is Easter Day.
That’s why, if you run into any kids with their rattles, bells or clappers, best drive a little slower.
Why don’t they ring any bells?
In order to commemorate the suffering of Christ, no bells, organs, or rattles are allowed in Mass from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday. Children used to be told that the bells are quiet because they’re being flown to Rome to be blessed.
On Sunday: the Easter mass and the Urbi et Orbi blessings will be streamed on the RTL livestream at 10am.
According to Luxembourgish juror and author Edmond de la Fontaine, "klibberen" can be dated back to ancient Egyptian customs. This is how evil ghosts were warded off during the mourning of Osiris’ Death.
"Klibberen" was also mentioned in a book back in 1482, and Sebastian Franck’s "World Book", published in 1534, stated that the noise was supposed to ring through cities to call people to church.
It is also a custom that takes place during Purim, a Jewish holiday that celebrates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman. During the festival, stories of the Book of Esther are read out, and when the name "Hamam" is said, all the children shake their rattles to drown the name out in noise.