Carnival season is here. Traditionally, masks appear on Candlemas Day, which officially strikes the beginning of 'Fuesent' and lasts until Ash Wednesday (Aschermëttwoch), when the Stréimännchen (strawman) is burned down.
Luxembourgish people know how to party and Carnival brings them joy and happiness. As a prelude to the parties that will mark the weeks to come, the kick-off of Carnival takes place on 2nd February, with masked balls to launch the Carnival season, including the famous Bieles am Jumm ball in Belvaux.
Masks, confetti and streamers
During these weeks of celebration, including the 'Fuessonnden' (Carnival Sunday) and 'Fuesméinden' (Carnival Monday), local associations organise a multitude of balls, parades and cavalcades for children and adults alike. Featuring throwing confetti and treats and streamers, the cavalcade is a great event that everyone longs for during the Carnival season. The best-known cavalcades are those in Diekirch, Esch-sur-Alzette, Remich and Pétange. Note that the Grand Duchy's first cavalcade- which took place in Diekirch - dates back to 1870.
The masked balls at three other places are particularly well-known as meeting places for 'fools': Echternach, Vianden and Wormeldange.
Laying Carnival to rest
In Luxembourg, the end of Carnival is officially marked by the burning of the Stréimännchen (strawman) in Remich. Tradition has it that a big straw puppet is burned on Ash Wednesday and thrown into the Moselle river. This ritual not only symbolises the end of "wild days", but also the end of winter. On leap years, a Stréifrächen - a straw-woman - is carried through the streets of the small Moselle town to be burned and thrown into the river.
Even though Ash Wednesday is meant to mark the end of Carnival, parties and cavalcades are still organised in the following weeks, such as the Pétange cavalcade. In fact, Carnival lasts until the fourth Sunday of Lent, which, marking the middle of Lent, is referred to as Halleffaaschten or Bretzelsonndeg (Pretzel Sunday).
(Article written by the editorial team of the portal luxembourg.lu)