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See Echternach's hopping procession on Tuesday
Luxembourg

See Echternach's hopping procession on Tuesday

1 25.05.2015 From our online archive
On Whit Tuesday thousands of people will flock to Echternach for the the annual dancing, or hopping, procession – a tradition going back to the 15th Century.
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On Tuesday thousands of people will flock to Echternach for the the annual dancing, or hopping, procession – a tradition going back to the 15th Century.

Every year, the procession attracts some 8,000 to 9,000 pilgrims who make their way through Echternach, with another couple of thousand visitors joining the event as spectators, especially as the procession has become increasingly popular with tourists.

The pilgrims honour St Willibrord, the Irish-Scottish monk and missionary who founded the Echternach abbey where he still lies buried today.

Lined up in rows, pilgrims hold kerchiefs in both hands and hop forward, making diagonal steps to the left and the right. While it is commonly believed that pilgrims make two steps forward and one step back, this is in fact not true and the only way is forward.

Pilgrims are accompanied by a special song, based on a traditional folk tune.

First records of the “Sprangprëssessioun” date back to 1497. In 2010, the procession was included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.

With no rain forecast for tomorrow, the event is sure to attract crowds. Only limited parking is available in Echternach, but a shuttle bus has been set up, circulating between the Parking du Lac in Route de Luxembourg and the Echternach train station.

The bus will run every 15 minutes between 8.30am and 4pm. Pilgrims will begin lining up around 8.30am. At 9.15am Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich will say a few words before the procession begins at 9.30am.

The last group of pilgrims are expected to arrive at the Echternach basilica around 1pm.

Take a look back at the 2013 procession, which also included royal hoppers Prince Guillaume and Princess Stéphanie, here.

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