Nights have become significantly longer, leaves are falling down and the last sunny days of autumn are giving way to winds and rain. In Luxembourg, this is an appropriate time to remember our dead and keep a particular tradition that especially lives on in the North of the country: the 'Trauliicht'
Allerhellegen - All Saints' Day - is celebrated on 1 November in Christian countries. It is the feast of all Christian saints, including those that were not canonised or whose sanctity is only known to God.
On this occasion, families gather in cemeteries to commemorate their deceased close ones and lay down candles, flowers and wreaths for their sake and memory. This is of normal practice throughout the country and is accompanied by a religious ceremony and the blessing of the graves.
2 November is Allerséilen, the 'day of the Dead'. It is dedicated to all the deceased who, according to Catholic doctrine, are in purgatory and have not yet been fully united with God.
Some Trauliicht to drive evil spirits away
In the north of Luxembourg, another tradition is currently experiencing a revival: the Trauliicht. On this occasion, villagers hollow out beetroot that are then 'decorated' with horrible faces. Lit by a candle, these Trauliichter are then placed on village walls and by windows of homes to protect households from the souls of the dead and evil spirits, which are said to be particularly active on those days.
Trauliicht is traditionally observed most in the rocky hills of the Ardennes, in northern Luxembourg, where the festival was widespread until the 1970s. It then experienced a resurgence in the entire country with the rise in popularity of the 'Americanised' version of Halloween in the 1990s.
While the two variants share the same roots, Trauliicht has remained a more traditional, less commercial festival than its transatlantic equivalent.