Christmas in Luxembourg
Luxembourg is located in Western Europe with Germany to the east, France to the south, and Belgium to the west.
Schéi Chrëschtdeeg is the standard Christmas greeting in Luxembourg which translates into “have nice Christmas-days.”
Kleeschen can be seen in various locations in cities and towns 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. His feast day is celebrated on December 6th. On evenings before this date, children put their shoes in front of their bedroom door, or on the windowsill, expecting St. Nicholas to fill them with a small gift during the night. On the eve of December 6th, children place a plate on the kitchen or dining-room table which St.Nicholas fills with sweets during the night when he brings gifts. The kindly saint also pays visits to children in schools.
From the beginning of December, streets and store windows in all major cities are richly illuminated and decorated. Christmas trees adorn public squares and out-door Christmas markets throughout the country attract many shoppers. From wooden huts that are set up in town squares, all sorts of Christmas goods are on sale: locally produced arts and crafts (candles, Christmas tree decorations, cribs, etc), and of course plenty of food and drink to warm you from the inside. The latter includes the popular spiced wine which is served hot, usually in special mugs, and is a regular part of the menu at Christmas Markets all through Europe. Foods on sale include various soups (with or without Mettwurscht – a local sausage specialty), crepes, and Thüringer. The air is filled with the wonderful scents of sausages cooking, fresh bakery goods, mulled wine, and fresh-cut pine boughs while 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.
Most people in Luxembourg, a Catholic country, celebrate Christmas Eve with family and close friends. Many attend Midnight Mass, after which the family gathers for supper consisting sometimes of a typical Luxembourg winter menu: black-pudding with mashed potatoes and apple sauce.
The Midnight Mass in the Benedictine Abbey of St. Maurice and St. Maure in Clervaux (a small picturesque Ardennes town) is of great renown and has been televised throughout Europe in recent years.
Clubs and associations also organize Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities. Some cities produce Nativity plays, with children as actors, others give concerts in the afternoon of December 25th.
There is no Santa Claus in Luxembourg at Christmas time. Instead the Christchild usually brings the Christmas gifts during the night, although the tradition of Father Chrismas is practiced by some families. If the family attends Midnight Mass, always a welcome excuse for children to stay up late, the gifts are sometimes opened when they return from the church service.
Traditional foods during the holiday season include “Stollen”, a kind of fruit loaf often laced with rum and “Bûche de Noël” an icecream-cake confection, covered with dark chocolate to resemble the appearance of a Yule log. On Christmas Day the traditional dinner often features black pudding or civet of hare, sometimes venison, or perhaps turkey. After the meal the family may go for a walk which is particularly fun if there’s snow. Boxing Day (Dec. 26th) is a day for visiting with friends and relatives whilst eating vast quantities of holiday food.