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April 5, 2017

Buergbrennen Luxembourg - Saying good-bye to Winter in style!

We burned the winter exactly one month ago and it seems to have worked. For about two weeks we have sunny, warm weather and I even got my summer t-shirts out from the winter closet and started wearing them. I am still afraid and each morning I look circumspectly out the window to greet the sun, but up till now I saw it daily. Fingers crossed!

Now, what is with the burning cross, you ask? Well it's an old Luxembourgish tradition, coming back from the times when Luxembourgers were more preoccupied with working their lands than banking. Buergbrennen is celebrated on the first Sunday of the Lent, not just in Luxembourg, but also in Belgium and Germany. In the recent years over 75% of the small towns in Luxembourg are celebrating this tradition on the same day so no matter where you live in Luxembourg you are always close to a Buergbrennen.

Traditionally this Buergbrennen is a bonfire made in the shape of a man, I honestly couldn't find out where they came with the cross from, but in Bonnevoie neighbourhood in Luxembourg city this was Buergbrennen's shape. The burning of the Buergbrennen is preceded by a torch-lit procession from the nearby church to the place where they will burn the fire. It is believed that the fire will chase out the spirits of the cold season figuratively burning the winter away.

Last year, the day after we lit the bonfire in Luxembourg there was a week of snow and wind and cold weather, but this year, as I said, it seems to have worked. I guess you just have to believe it :)




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