Easter is nearly upon us, and there are plenty of traditions to be aware of (not least if you want to avoid the embarrassment of not getting a lovers' egg)!
Easter will likely be familiar to most of you, but traditions to vary from country to country.. and this author was personally rather surprised to find out just how many parts there are to it in the Grand Duchy. Here's the low-down of (more or less) everything you need to know.
The Easter Bunny Commeth - and egg battles commence!
You may be relieved to hear that the Easter bunny does come to Luxembourg as well, and s/he's every bit as good at hiding eggs as anywhere else.
Luxembourgers tend to hide boiled and painted eggs, rather than e.g. chocolate ones. So the standard order of things is that you will boil and paint eggs together as a family (or buy ready-painted ones, if that's how you roll) after which parents ("the Easter bunny") will hide them in the garden or around the house.
But searching for these hidden protein-packed treasures isn't the best part! Eggs located, it's time to start the traditional egg battles, or técken (not to be confused with the classic fighting game Tekken). The rules are pretty simple: everyone is armed with one egg, and you take turns knocking two eggs against each other until one of them cracks. The last man/woman/child+uncracked egg standing is the winner.
Pretzels and Lovers' Eggs
Before the arrival of the bunny there's actually another egg-related tradition to keep track of, but it starts with a pretzel. On Bretzelsonndeg (pretzel Sunday) men are supposed to buy their love interest a pretzel (and they are really ridiculously delicious, not least the ones with chocolate). If she (traditionally, but insert your preferred pronoun) accepts the pretzel, he's supposed to visit her again on Easter Day, at which point he is to be rewarded with an egg. Read into that what you want.
This year (2019), Bretzelsonndeg will fall on 31 March. If may be a good idea to reserve your pretzel in advance if buying from a local and/or particularly popular baker.. Also good to know is that the tradition is 'inverted' on leap years, which means it's the women's turn to buy pretzels.
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Klibberen - a surprisingly loud affair
Another tradition that you may have already seen (or certainly heard) is Klibberen. Apparently there's an old legend which says that church bells fly of to Rome on Holy Thursday to receive a blessing from the Pope (please do keep an eye on the sky and send in photos if you spot a church bell on its way south). They won't start ringing again until Easter Sunday.
Naturally we can't go without some form of aural notification of impending church services, however, which meant that another solution had to be found. And who would be keener to go around town making a ruckus than a bunch of kids?
So that's precisely what happens. Armed with Klibberen (rattles) walk around towns all over Luxembourg chanting 'D'Moiesklack laut/d'Mëttesklack laut/d'Owesklack laut' (the morning/afternoon/evening bell is ringing).
Easter Saturday has them singing something along the lines of 'Dik-dik-dak, dik-dik-dak, muer as Ouschterdag' ([...]dik-dik-dak, tomorrow is Easter Day). At this point they may also be expecting some form of reward, such as Easter eggs, sweets or cash. They may also be collecting funds for the local church.
Éimaischen and the Péckvillercher
And finally, no list of Easter traditions in Luxembourg would be complete without mention of the Easter market in Luxembourg City. It's a hybrid Christian and craftsmen tradition, and emphasis is largely on the latter.
At its core it is essentially a potters' market in Luxembourg city, but it has grown to become far more than that and now features artisans of various trades and plenty of food. The most iconic feature, however, was and remains the Péckvillercher, a small, musical terracotta bird.
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