Octave & Mäertchen
Traditional Pilgrimage (since 1666) to honour Our Lady of Luxembourg, the patron saint. Lasts from the third to the fifth Sunday after Easter and represents the main religious ceremony of the country.
The roots of the Mäertchen can be traced to the Octave of Pentecost, a religious holiday held to honour the Virgin Mary, who is the patron saint of both the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and its capital. Pilgrims from all over the country and the Greater Region come to Luxembourg City. While the Octave initially lasted for eight days (hence its name), it now takes place over the course of 16 days between Easter and Pentecost, starting on the third Saturday after Easter.
Originally, the Mäertchen gave fasting pilgrims, most of whom came from rural areas and rarely travelled to the city, a chance to get some sustenance while shopping in the city right after mass.
Although the Mäertchen now has more of a carnival atmosphere with its fairground games and rides, it has by no means lost its charm and appeal. Each year, thousands of visitors flock to the city centre to enjoy the food, games and hawker's stands at this quintessentially Luxembourgish fair.
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