Buergbrennen - let's burn winter together Let's burn winter

On the first Sunday after Carnival, the Buergen (torches) are lit across the Grand Duchy to chase away the winter. Every year, this traditional festive occasion brings together crowds of people in municipalities throughout the country, with neighbours, the local who's who, clubs and associations gathering around the bonfire, a glass of Glühwäin in their hand.

Fed up with winter!

Each village has their own. They can be of bigger or smaller scale. The Buergen that are lit up on the country's hills on Buergsonndeg – the first Sunday after carnival – are huge stakes whose mission is to chase away the winter. They come in various forms – sometimes, they look like a small castle, but most of them take the form of a giant bonfire with a cross in the middle.

The combustible materials most commonly used are straw, brushwood and logs, but old Christmas trees are also used. These are collected by local clubs and associations in January. The size of the Buergen often depends on the materials that have been amassed. In most cases, they are erected by local youth associations, who sometimes also organise a popular festival next to the Buerg, which they then set alight before the crowd's eyes after dark.

A custom that brings the village together

The event usually starts during the afternoon with the construction of the Buerg, followed by a torchlight procession, and ending with the lighting of the fire as darkness falls. In some places, the honour of lighting the Buerg goes to the most recently married local couple, or to a local celebrity.

Barbecues and traditional dishes including Ierzebulli (pea soup), Bouneschlupp (green bean soup) and Glühwäin (mulled wine) are served to warm up the audience, and often, the festival goes on long after the stake has been reduced to embers.


Burning Man in Remich

In this charming town, located in the heart of the Moselle region, the inhabitants have their own traditional way of chasing winter away and marking the end of the carnival season. During the days leading up to Ash Wednesday, a life-size straw doll, dressed in old clothes – the Stréimännchen, or "straw man" – is created. As this is supposed to represent a reveller, or Fuesbok, after the Sunday of the carnival he’s given an empty bottle of wine or crémant to hold, together with an empty wallet. On Wednesday evening, the doll is carried in a procession through the streets to the bridge spanning the Moselle. Before the assembled crowd, it is then set on fire and thrown into the river.. This marks the end of the carnival season and the beginning of Lent.

Although the doll usually represents a man, in leap years it represents a woman and is then called Stréifrächen, literally "straw woman".


Originally, the Buergbrennen  or Faaschtefeier (Lent Festival) used to be a pagan custom.

Since ancient times, the Buergbrennen tradition has been observed around the time of the spring equinox. The blaze symbolises the rebirth of spring and the end of winter, the triumph of warm over cold, of light over darkness. Nevertheless, it is also sometimes said that the burning of the Buerg is a symbolic reminder of the time when witches were burnt at the stake.