On 2nd February, the eve of St. Blaise’s day, children celebrate Liichtmëssdag (Candlemas). They go from door to door, bearing Liichtebengelcher or lanterns, singing in exchange for sweets and coins. On this occasion, they sing a traditional song known by all children that starts with "Léiwer Härgottsblieschen".
Peas and bacon
After school or in the early afternoon, children get hold of their Liichtebengelcher before leaving in groups to ask for sweets and coins. Generally speaking, these groups are made by children living in the same neighbourhood or on the same street. In the olden days, children would carry candles at the end of a wooden stick, but for safety reasons, they were replaced with colourful lanterns lit with an electric bulb.
This colourful procession goes from house to house. When someone opens their door, the children sing their song Léiwer Härgottsblieschen, with which they literally ask for 'bacon and peas'. Who can possibly resist a group of little ones bearing lanterns and singing wholeheartedly?
At the end of their path, the donations are shared fairly among the children who were longing for this moment to enjoy the result of their joint efforts.
A call to Saint Blaise
The origins of the Liichtmëssdag date back to the pre-Christian era, but today, the festival is associated with Saint Blaise, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers that are venerated in Roman Catholicism. He is said to protect not only cattle, but also to help fight sore throats, ulcers and the plague. The children's passage with their lanterns serves as a reminder that Christ defined himself as the light of the world who brings light in darkness.
If you want to chime in, here's the text of the song:
Gitt ons Speck an Ierbessen
Ee Pond, zwee Pond,
Dat anert Joer da gitt der gesond,
Da gitt der gesond.
Loosst déi jonk Leit liewen
Loosst déi al Leit stierwen,
(Variante: an déi al derniewent)
Kommt der net bal,
D'Féiss ginn ons kal.
Kommt Der net gläich,
Da gi mer op d'Schläich.
Kommt der net geschwënn,
D'Féiss ginn ons dënn.
Kommt Der net gewëss,
Da kritt Der e Schouss voll Nëss.
Version of Nik Welter (1929)
Children in Luxembourg singing 'Léiwer Härgottsblieschen'. (Copyright: CNA)