Luxembourg – A European Christmas Story

From the start of December, streets and shop windows across Luxembourg are illuminated and decorated, with Christmas trees in public squares and outdoor Christmas markets. Christmas goods are on sale from wooden huts: locally produced candles, tree decorations, cribs, etc. Food and drink includes hot spiced wine served in mugs and various soups which are sometimes served with Mettwurscht (a local sausage specialty). Traditional foods include Stollen and Bûche de Noël, an ice cream cake confection covered with dark chocolate to resemble the appearance of a Yule Log.

There is no Santa Claus in Luxembourg; however, St Nicolas Day is celebrated on December 6th. Children put their slippers in front of their bedroom doors to be filled with a small gift by St Nicolas during the night. On that evening, children put a plate on the kitchen or dining-room table which St Nicolas fills with sweets and gifts. St. Nicolas also visits schools.

‘’Kleeschen’’ can be seen in various locations in Luxembourg as he comes to the shops and receives the children for photo sessions. “Kleeschen” is another name for St. Nicholas who comes from the heavens to reward children who have been good.

Music is everywhere; Christmas Market concerts are presented in bandstands and on special stages set up for the occasion. Local bands, brass quartets, string trios, choirs and soloists all contribute to the Christmas atmosphere. Clubs and associations often organize Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities. Some cities produce Nativity plays and others give concerts in the afternoon of December 25th. Concerts are often followed by a Christmas tree charity auction.

Most people in Luxembourg celebrate Christmas Eve with family and friends. Many attend Midnight Mass, after which the family gathers for a supper of a typical Luxembourg winter menu: black-pudding with mashed potatoes and apple sauce. On Christmas Day the traditional dinner often features black pudding or civet of hare, sometimes venison or turkey. After the meal the family may go for a walk which is particularly fun if there’s snow. Boxing Day is a day for visiting with friends and relatives whilst eating vast quantities of holiday food.

‘’Schéi Chrëschtdeeg’’ is the standard Christmas greeting in Luxembourg which translates into have nice Christmas days.

A personal story:

By Ulf Eriksson

Q1. What do you have for Christmas dinner?

Christmas dinner is always with a black pudding and a hare steak.

Q2. What is your fondest memories of Christmas?

Christmas Eve in Luxembourg is only celebrated with the family and eating, drinking and stories are important.

Q3. What types of presents do you get from friends and family?

In Luxembourg children receive the gifts early December at St Nicholas Day and adults gets everything from socks to ties.

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