Despite the sometimes gloomy weather, the upcoming Holiday season starts to be visible across the country already mid-November when the shop shelves become packed with chocolate Santas and advent calendars and the Christmas Markets around the country open their doors to Glühwein fans. The biggest event around that period is the Winterlights festival in Luxembourg City of which the Christmas markets, exhibitions and concerts are part of.
There are several Christmas Markets located throughout the City of Luxembourg – at the Place de la Constitution (“Gëlle Fra” statue), Place de Paris, Place d’Armes and at the Kinnekswiss Park – each offering a unique atmosphere. Traditional wooden stalls have everything from handcrafted gifts and decorations to local specialities. The most popular food and dishes to try include: Gromperekichelcher (potato pancakes often served with apple compote), Lëtzebuerger Grillwurscht (local sausages), Kniddelen (tradition flour dumplings with apple compote, cream, and bacon) and Feuerzangenbowle (mulled wine with a rum-soaked sugar cube set on fire before it drips into the drink – we recommend!). It’s not uncommon to hear live music performances, especially during the weekends, which makes the markets the favorite meeting place for the locals.
The opening hours are: Sunday-Thursday from 11am until 9pm, Friday-Saturday from 11am until 10pm. Markets last this year from 18th November until 1st of January (closed on 24th and 25th December).
Several other cities host separate, smaller Christmas Markets open only on specific dates f.ex. Steinfort, Ettelbruck, Mullerthal, Belval, Esch-sur-Alzette with local cuisine and craft bringing the holiday spirit into towns. The oldest market is however in Diekirch and fans of the medieval period should visit Dudelange where a thematic market is organized.
In line with the growing multiculturalization and influences from various cultures, some Luxembourgish traditions slowly change but there are a few that are still widely cherished throughout the country.
In the weeks preceding Christmas, it is quite common to organize Krëppespiller (nativity plays usually performed by children) in the local communities. The cities propose Christmas concerts (for example at “Conservatoire de la Ville de Luxembourg”, “Philharmonie” as well as in local communities) and other activities like Wine Lights Enjoy (walk in Moselle region with local wines and light show) or St Nicholas Parade.
As Luxembourg is predominantly Catholic, on Christmas Eve, 24th December, a midnight mass is celebrated in the “Notre-Dame” cathedral and in local churches across the country. The ‘Chrëschtdag’ (Christmas Day) on 25th December and ‘Stiefesdag’ (Saint Stephan’s Day) on 26th December are mostly about spending time with family and friends. Those are also legal holidays, free of work. The Christmas lunch/dinner on the 25th December takes today from different cuisines and it is not uncommon to find French, German or Italian dishes next to each other. Traditionally, however, one would find Träipen mat Gromperenzalot (black pudding with potato salad and apple sauce) and Stollen (fruit and marzipan loaf cake) on the table.
Depending on the household, people exchange gifts brought by ‘Chrëschtkëndchen’ (baby Jesus) either on the 24th or 25th December, as wants the tradition.
Throughout the month of December numerous shops and shopping centers will remain open during the whole weekend, including Sunday, to facilitate the Christmas preparations and the purchase of gifts.
Taking into consideration Luxembourg’s central location in Europe, many people travel to surrounding areas during the Holiday season to enjoy the special atmosphere. The most popular city thanks to its famous Christmas Market – Strasburg – is only 2 hours drive. Worth visiting at this time of the year might also be the Black Forest region, especially Stuttgart with one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany. Another 2.5 hours away driving the opposite direction lies Brussels, host to the biggest market in Belgium – Winter Wonders with over 200 chalets, light shows and an ice rink at the Grand-Place.
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We have over 12 years of experience in flatshares for professionals in London, New York and Luxembourg. As an agency, we apply our expertise and know-how to ensure clients find the most suitable solution to rent a room in Luxembourg, a studio, or a shared house with other people.