Mongolian cashmere, Slovak wine and Lebanese coffee
Photo: Laurent Blum
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The largest international independent charity event in the Grand Duchy welcomed old favourites from Portugal and Belgium, alongside newcomers including the Mongolian stand. Some 1,500 volunteers helped organise and participated in the Bazaar, which last year welcomed 28,000 visitors.
"The population of Mongolia is just three million but we have a lot of cattle which we use to make cashmere products," said Namuun Batnavch, adding: "There’s a small community of 30 or so families and students from Mongolia living in Luxembourg. We’re really proud and happy to represent our country at the Bazaar, and today our ambassador to Benelux is here."
Tempting the taste buds
Visitors enjoyed gourmet food from around the world including Indian curries, American hot dogs, and Slovakian sweet treats made with poppy seeds, chocolate and jam. The Lebanese stand was on hand to provide coffee: "This is the 35th year we’ve had a stand here," said Caroline Samaha who also highlighted that some 150 families are part of the Circle le Libanais de Luxembourg.
Latin beats emanated from the Venezuelan stand now in its 14th year at the Bazaar.
"We started with handicrafts, then food. This year we have a bar, that’s why we have lively music, and we’re using Venezuelan rum for our mojitos, piña coladas and cuba libres," Nieves Rodriguez-Wolf said.
People also indulged in some Christmas shopping with stands offering books, toys, home interior items, fashion accessories, art and festive decorations. Anna Prajer explained that the hand-crafted puppets on the Polish stand wear traditional costumes or represent characters from Polish fairy tales.
"They are used as theatrical entertainment but also for psychological therapy for children," she said.
At the Ukrainian stand Englishman Mark Roberts and his wife were buying a hand-sewn pink felt cat as a tree decoration.
"There is such a great range of food and really quirky products, plus it is lovely to see all the costumes," Mark said.
Across the two main halls the day was peppered with folk music, national dance and entertainment from every corner of the world. At lunchtime, visitors were treated to Estonian folk dancing followed by Slovakian music on the violin and Cimbal, a traditional instrument. Slovakian Natalia and nine-year-old Viki, wore traditional dress representing both the east and west of the country, They enticed visitors to try Slovak wine or a shot of Tatra mountain liquor.
The Bazaar was officially opened by HRH the Grand Duchess and HRH the Hereditary Grand Duchess.
"We hope it will be fun, entertaining and informative to all our visitors, and that we raise money for the charitable organisations we support across the world," Erika Ehrhard said. She is one of eight committee members involved in preparations throughout the year.
Supporting 75 charities worldwide
The aim of the Bazaar is to fight world poverty. Most of the organisations that benefit are located in Asia, Africa and Latin America, but European and Luxembourgish charities gain too. Priority is given to empowering children and women through education, safety and medical care. Charities are selected for the impact they will have on their communities.
This year the Bazaar Committee has selected some 75 charities to receive support. Fundebe (Foundation pour le Development du Benin) will be the principle charity to receive financial support for a new school building for kindergarten, primary and secondary education in addition to new water wells and the installation of a rainwater collection system.
Last year, 8,000 of the 580,000 Euros collected went to provide secured schooling for 150 children in Kinshasa -- capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- for three years, thus giving them a better start in life.
Luxembourg’s multi-cultural side
"It’s great to see the whole Luxembourg community get together once a year and show off all the different cultures that have made this country their home," Christa Brown, from Ireland, said.
The International Bazaar took place on November 25 and November 26, and is open on Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. Entry is free but parking spaces are limited and there will be a flat parking rate of €5 at LuxExpo. www.bazar-international.lu.
An entertainment agenda is available on the Bazaar website.
Bus line 1 will depart from Central Station and depart every 15 minutes from 9.10 am to 6.10 pm to LuxExpo, freeof charge.