Bazar International adds three new cultures
Three new countries this year join the many stands at Luxembourg's Bazar International, offering traditional food and handicrafts to raise money for charities in 39 countries.
We take a whistle-stop tour of some of the stands you can visit:
Fifteen Colombians of the 200 or so that live in Luxembourg will be running a stand for the first time: “I’m super happy to represent my country, and to show our Wayuu bags in which we are helping the indigenous people in Laguaherra in Colombia. And we made all the traditional food,” says Carolina, taking in the array of empanadas, traditional soft bread, and cakes. The stand also has speciality coffee and rum and even a kid’s play corner.
Kenya has not had a stand for some years, says James, who is selling Kenyan coffee from his farm. “This coffee was brought, roasted and ground here, so it’s fresh. And we have Kenyan tea and snacks,” he says. The stand is filled with colourful belts, bags, jewellery, and even unique dog collars and leashes painstakingly made from Masai beads. James points out that much of it is made “by people who are underprivileged. The quality is so controlled, but this is impact --not just selling. We’re actually supporting lives.”
Given the desperate situation in Afghanistan, which makes it very difficult to export or import goods, its surprising to see some very colourful embroidered dresses and an array of nuts for sale. There isn’t a huge amount to buy, volunteers made up for this with a vast selection of home-cooked Afghan dishes.
Nearby, the Azerbaijan stand is full to brimming with fresh produce including pomegranates, quince and the green, egg-shaped feijoa fruit. There are wines, oils, molasses and lots of jewellery, which Seymur tells me has been flown in especially for the Bazar.
Samir, a young man co-managing the stand, says that when he arrived in Luxembourg the Bazar was a place to meet and see his fellow countrymen. “When I felt homesick it was the best place for me to socialise and I had cravings for all this food,” he said.
Fuad says there are approximately 200 Azerbaijani’s living in Luxembourg but that many younger arrivals learn the local language and take citizenship. He’s proud to claim that he was the first Azerbaijani to become Luxembourgish in 2007.
Iceland has been at the Bazar since the start more than 60 years ago, and you might be surprised that there are 300 or 400 natives living in Luxembourg. Tekia and Sólún explain that they are selling home-made rye bread with salmon, herring and gravlax, Icelandic cod-liver oil and designed, scented candles. The star of the stall is the beautiful wool jumpers, shawls and scarves transported by Icelandair to Liege.
Viera, wearing a national costume from her Slovak village, is pleased that Slovakia has been given a bigger stand this year. It is filled with beautifully decorated gingerbread, woolly hats and socks, toys, and Christmas decorations brought to Luxembourg during the course of the year especially for the Bazar.
She points to some thin wafers that are “traditionally eaten at Christmas, made by a teacher from the village. You put a little honey on it and you have it as a starter before Christmas dinner. And then the mother of the family takes the honey and puts a cross on everybody’s forehead, for a blessing for the next year”, Viera said. Popular dishes served up at the stand include kapustnica, a sauerkraut soup, and lokše, a potato pancake served with sweet of savoury fillings.
This year the Ukraine stand is offering bed linens and bathrobes in addition to its beautiful Christmas decorations, and the Australian stand will be selling fragrances. You can find a full list of participating stands here.
Dance and music plus a visit from Kleeschen
For entertainment while you eat and drink, you can catch Japanese hanagasa traditional dance, Pakistani dhol drumming and traditional dancing from Ukraine, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, India and the Czech Republic. The Azerbaijan stand has invited pianist Isfar Sarabski, winner of the Montreux Jazz Festival, to play several times on Saturday. Children can visit Saint Nicholas, known in Luxembourg as Kleeschen, on Sunday between 12.00 and 14.00.
The offerings also include books for children, teens and adults in English, French and a number of other European languages. The Bazar's bookstand also has some rare or antiquarian books, first editions, collectables, and high-quality art books.
The money raised at the Bazar will be donated to charities in 39 countries, including three humanitarian projects in Luxembourg. The chosen charities work to fight poverty, and many focus on education and vocational training. Others offer medical assistance. The principal project this year will be a medical centre in South Sudan, run by nuns who are trained as midwives, who along with doctors and nurses handle approximately 2,500 medical interventions each month.
The Bazar International takes place this year on Saturday, 12 November, from 11.00 to 19.00 and from 11.00 to 17.00 on Sunday, 13 November, in Halls 7 and 8 of LuxExpo. Entrance is via rue Carlo Hemmer, near the Kirchberg shopping centre. You don't need to reserve tickets or time slots this year.
Bazar Croix-Rouge – 19-20 November, Glacis
Another holiday fund-raiser will take place 19-20 November from 10.00 to 18.00, when the Bazar Croix-Rouge (Red Cross) takes over the tent in the Glacis parking area in Limpertsberg. The event's 76th edition also will have stands offering an array of handicrafts, design and vintage items, delicacies, second-hand clothes. There will be a food village and Kleeschen will make an appearance on 20 November at 15.00. Money raised will support actions for young people in both Luxembourg and worldwide.