A bit of a head start, the National Day of Luxembourg being tomorrow, but not really since the big party is tonight. Hence, today is a good day to talk about why and how we celebrate. Which most of you already know anyway, so let’s be brief.
Tomorrow, we are celebrating the birthday of Grand Duke Henri, and before him Grand Duke Jean, and before him Grand Duchess Charlotte. None of them were actually born on this date, but at least Charlotte was born on the 23rd – of January – and during most of her reign the official celebration was indeed on her actual birthday. But after many a cold celebration, and perhaps no change in sight in the foreseeable future as Charlotte’s son Jean was also born in January, it was decided to move the whole thing and make it a midsummer do. This was in 1962, two years before Jean became Grand Duke.
The day kicks off with Te Deum in the splendid Notre Dame Cathedral in the city, with the royal birthday boy and his family present, followed by 101 celebratory cannon shots. The military parade boasts proud, shining vehicles and ditto drivers, and for the children, it’s party all day long as the Kinnekswiss in the city park is transformed into a huge playground.
But the real kick-off is tonight, with a torchlight parade from the Place Guillaume; this year a historical one since the city celebrates its 1050th anniversary. The impressive fireworks, concerts and DJs turn the city into one big party.
Now if you don’t party all night long, tomorrow might be a good day to make a Luxembourgish specialty. Such as the incontournable Feiersténgszalot.
Feiersténgszalot (serves 4)
- 1 lb. cooked beef (paleron)
- 1 – 2 boiled potatoes
- 1 tomato
- 1 pickled cucumber or more
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic
- 1 tbsp. mustard
- 2 tbsp. vinegar
- 4-5 spoons oil
- Salt & pepper
- 2 eggs, boiled hard
- Boil the beef in the broth for 1 – 1 ½ hours, remove foam often.
- Cut beef (cold), potatoes, tomatoes and cucumber into small pieces.
- Chop onions, garlic and parsley and add to oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper to make vinaigrette.
- Mix everything except the eggs and leave for about an hour.
- Before serving, add the eggs and decorate with more parsley.
- Tip: Add some vegetables to the broth after an hour to add taste, then whip in one egg after you’ve taken the vegs out.
Gudden Appetit & e schéine Nationalfeierdag!
Detailed programme for today and tomorrow (in French) from Ville de Luxembourg
By Unni Holtedahl, June 22 2013