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Buergbrennen Celebration

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In every four-seasoned country or place, there will always be a celebration of the coming of spring. With each occasion, people in good will welcome the blossoming of a new beginning along with the sprouting of flowers and humming of birds. Luxembourg is no different.

The Grand Duchy has a celebration called Buergbrennen in which huge bonfires are lit up on the first Saturday of Lent. The surrounding areas also celebrate this festivity. It is also called Burgbrennen in Germany while in France and Belgium it is known as the dimanche des Brandons.

According to Balmoral International Group Luxembourg reviews, the term buerg or burg actually is derived from the Latin “burere” or to burn.

The origin of the festival originated with the pagan feast in connection with the spring solstice on the 21st of March. The current tradition now incorporates and follows the Christian calendar. Luxembourgers has been holding the event every first Sunday of the Lent season. In Belgium, Germany and France, the tradition is slowly waning but in the Grand Duchy, Luxembourgers has decided to revive it since 1930 with almost ¾ of the population celebrating the occasion.

Originally the bonfire seems simply to have consisted of a heap of wood and straw but as time went by, a central pillar of tree branches was introduced. A crosspiece was later attached near the top of the pillar, giving it the appearance of a cross.

In the olden traditional times, men are the only ones permitted to celebrate Buergbrennen with women only permitted under certain rules and exceptional circumstances. The most recently married men played a special role, the honour of lighting the fire falling on the last man to have wed. But the newly-weds also had the responsibility of collecting wood for the fire or paying others to assist in the work. At the end of the festivities, they were expected to entertain those taking part, either at home or in local inns. The tradition began to die out in the 19th century because of the high costs involved, but in the 20th century local authorities revived the tradition, taking over responsibility for the arrangements and the costs involved.

The local authorities or youth organisations usually make the arrangements for the Buergbrennen. They collect wood, often old Christmas trees, from the inhabitants and make the buerg or bonfire, usually on the top of a neighbouring hill and clad with hay to ensure rapid burning. There is often a cross rising high above the centre of the fire. Torchlight processions to the bonfire sometimes take place and there are usually stands for food and drink. The firemen are present to ensure against accidents.

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