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All Saints and d'Trauliicht

All Saints and d'Trauliicht

by Sarita Rao 3 min. 30.10.2022
Do you know the Luxembourg traditions of d'Trauliicht, Allerhelgen, Allerseílen and Haupeschdag?
Families can take part in beet and turnip sculpting workshops Photo: Luxemburger Wort archives
Families can take part in beet and turnip sculpting workshops Photo: Luxemburger Wort archives

It's not all "trick or treating" as Luxembourg celebrates All Saints' Day (Allerhelgen), All Souls' Day (Allerseílen) and Saint Hubert's Day (Haupeschdag),  and incorporates the fun tradition of d'Trauliicht (beet or turnip lantern carving), at the end of October and early November, a busy time of celebration and commemoration.

If you want to know the history behind these days read on. 

All Saints' Day or Allerhelgen, on 1 November, commemorates all the saints, whilst All Souls' Day, or Allerseílen, on 2 November, has us remembering the deceased who are still in purgatory (and thus wandering in the ghost world).

All Saints' Day was first held by Pope Boniface to remember all the saints. The holiday was added in the 10th century, whilst All Souls' Day (or Day of the Dead) comes from Cluniac and Benedictine monasteries who believed the faithful living could help those in purgatory.

Originally the two traditions were often celebrated on the same day, and in Luxembourg since the 2 Nov is not a holiday, people visit their ancestral tombstones to clean them and place fresh flowers on graves on 1 November, thus celebrating the saints and souls together. It is thought that the church bells console the dead. 

D'Trauliicht brennen, is an Ardennes tradition for the eve of All Saints' Day when young men would hollow out beets or turnips, carve scary faces onto them, then light them with a candle and hang about the streets or outside churches to frighten the girls.

The same lanterns were placed outside cowsheds and barns to prevent animals from getting illnesses thought to be brought by bad spirits. The lamps had a dual purpose – to protect you from the souls of the dead and provide a ray of light before the darkness of the winter months.

D'Trauliicht at Robbesscheier Tourist Centre Photo: LW Archives
D'Trauliicht at Robbesscheier Tourist Centre Photo: LW Archives

Today, the Robbesscheier Tourist Centre in Munhausen organises "d'Trauliicht" festivities in late October and early November. Families can take part in beet sculpting workshops, plus enjoy the delights of a campfire.

Educational farm A-Schmatten at Schuttrange also has d’Trauliicht Brennen with beet lantern carving, stories, games and entertainment on 3 November.

The same village also celebrates Saint Hubert's Day (Haupeschdag) in early November. Legend tells that Hubertus (656 to 727 AD), the patron saint of hunters, was hunting one day in the Ardennes when he saw a stag carrying a crucifix between its antlers. He heard the voice of God and decided to give up his earthly pleasure of hunting to join the church. He became Bishop of Liège in 708 AD.

Munhausen has a special connection with the Saint and, since 1983, its coat of arms has featured the famous stag with a cross between its antlers. The village has been holding a market since the 17th century, and the November date also signals the start of the hunting season.

Berdorf in Mullerthal also holds a Saint Hubert's Day festival with more than 100 stalls and a traditional mass to the saint held in a unique amphitheatre in the woods. 

Halloween or celebrating the eve of All Saints' Day is thought to have reached America in the 1830s with an influx of Irish immigrants. In the past few decades, a more commercial but nevertheless fun Halloween tradition has been imported back from the US to Europe, whilst even more recently the Mexican tradition of Dia de los Muertos has joined the celebrations in Luxembourg.

Check our article What's on for Halloween for activities and events taking place this year. 

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