Kleeschen When children behave at their best

On 6 December, all the children throughout the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg eagerly await the arrival of the Kleeschen (St Nicholas) and the gifts he brings. Unfortunately, his companion the Houseker is always by his side, carrying a big bag from which he may pull a present or a twig.

The Kleeschen and the Houseker

In Luxembourg, the Kleeschen takes the form of an old man with white hair and a white beard, dressed in red. Unlike Father Christmas, St Nicholas wears a red bishop's mitre on his head and carries a bishop's crosier, a sort of staff.

He is usually accompanied by the Houseker (similar to the concept of Black Peter), his fear-inspiring dark companion, who gives twigs to children who have misbehaved.

In the Grand Duchy, this day is so important that the Ministry of National Education has decided to declare it a holiday for children in fundamental education. During the run-up to 6 December, the Kleeschen visits classes and entire schools, bringing great joy to children.

From the end of November, children leave their slippers outside their bedroom doors every night for the Kleeschen to first bring them sweets and then, during the night between 5 and 6 December, proper presents (toys and treats). In general, he does not allow himself to be seen by small children, who discover all their gifts early in the morning.

© Claude Piscitelli

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