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A Facebook post by Alex Heyar, the lead singer of Luxembourg rock band "Moof," has stirred some confusion and discussions regarding the perceived cancellation of Candlemas due to the begging ban.
Heyar's post, which humorously declared, Net vergiessen Liichtmëssdag ab dësem Joer VERBUEDEN ("Don't forget, Candlemas [is] banned as of this year") obviously aimed to satirise the begging ban and draw attention to the associated legal issues. In a conversation with our colleagues from RTL.lu, Heyar clarified that the post was intended as a joke, similar to a previous satirical post about a supposed ban on offering boxes in churches.
The underlying criticism in Heyar's post revolves around the complexities of the begging ban, and he expressed surprise at the varied reactions to his satirical statement.
He explained: "I thought that children are also basically begging when they make their rounds on Candlemas, and I wanted to draw attention to the begging law again. Unfortunately, not everyone understood that."
While Heyar could empathise with some of the outraged reactions by people who assumed the post was true, he was also shocked "by some statements" made in response to his post.
In fact, not only did the discussion about the begging ban resurface as a result of the post, but a number of parents began to doubt whether Candlemas and the begging ban might overlap, which is, of course, not the case.
Candlemas is rooted in a Celtic tradition in which farmers marched through the streets in a procession to cleanse the fields. The tradition has no historical connection to begging, and even less so in its modern iteration involving children going from house to house with lanterns.
Heyar, in a more sincere tone, conveyed his excitement about the tradition of children singing and ringing doorbells on 2 February for Candlemas. He even expressed regret that this tradition has, in his view, declined significantly in recent times.
Upon enquiry, the police also clarified that Candlemas is obviously not prohibited, even in areas where begging is banned. With this in mind, they advise drivers to exercise caution on 2 February, especially in town centres, as children are out in the evening. Parents are encouraged to ensure their children are visible, possibly through bright clothing or high-visibility vests.
The municipality of Luxembourg City also explicitly confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that children are "of course" allowed to make their rounds at Candlemas "as they do every year."