Expats join in for Luxembourg's National Day party
By Cliona Hickey
In a country where half the population is a foreigner - and three out of four among the working population - the question of how to celebrate Luxembourg's national holiday takes on a special meaning.
This week, the Grand Duchy witnessed the long-awaited return to a regular celebratory programme of its National Holiday, after the coronavirus pandemic brought activities to a halt for two years.
After the reliably spectacular fireworks - on Wednesday evening - everything from music, marching bands, folks groups and fireworks is what lies ahead for residents of Luxembourg, ex-pats and natives alike on Thursday.
Mané Bakhtamyan, who arrived in Luxembourg from Armenia a few years ago, says she found it “quite amusing” that a country would celebrate the birthday of its monarch, rather than, say its independence day.
Still, she enjoys wishing her “homeboi the Grand Duke” happy birthday.
Celebrating your new country’s national holiday can be a great way to integrate and get to know its traditions and culture - and have a lot of fun.
Maurice Hickey, who came to Luxembourg from Ireland 20 years ago, said he enjoyed the “wonderful party atmosphere on the liveliest night of the year” as well as the fireworks, which he said are “world class".
In the capital, the celebration went underway at 16:00 hrs on Wednesday with the traditional change of the guard at the Grand Ducal Palace. On the Place d’Armes, between 19:00 and 21:15 hrs there were fanfare concerts, the surrounding trees illuminated with the colours of the Luxembourgish flag.
A torch procession, marching bands and folk groups began at 21:20 hrs at the Place des Puits Rouges to end in front of the Viaduct Bridge. At 23:00 hrs, the 17-minute firework display started at the Pont Adolphe.
Many partiers took advantage of the relaxed rules around drinking and closing times to have a night out that continued well into the morning.
The Ground Luxembourg is holding a twenty-hour party from 16:00 hrs on the 22nd to 12:00 hrs on Thursday.
Extra buses ran between 23:30 and 03:30 hrs after stopping for an hour between 22:30 and 23:30 hrs in the lead-up to the fireworks with the exception of the 6, 16 and 18 lines, which ran non-stop.
On Wednesday night, the tram continued to circulate every 10 minutes. Between 19:00 and 00:20 hrs, no trams circulated between Hamilius and Gare Centrale, where the 39 bus replaced it.
Cars were not allowed in the Gare district and the city centre between the hours of 18:00 and 02:00 hrs on Wednesday and the next morning from 08:00.
(Additional reporting by Reuben Malekar)