Dancing procession in Echternach

  • May 21/2024
  • Echternach, Luxembourg
Echternach dancing procession © Unesco
Echternach dancing procession © Unesco

Event description

Luxembourg is a country rich in history and deeply-rooted traditions. Luxembourgers know how to preserve their spiritual and religious heritage. The dancing procession is a remarkable part of this cultural heritage.

Dancing procession around Echternach Abbey in Luxembourg

Located in the picturesque town of Echternach, Echternach Abbey is one of Luxembourg's most important religious sites. Founded in the 7th century, this Benedictine monastery is renowned for its spiritual importance.

The Echternach dancing procession is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Every year, on Whit Tuesday, thousands of pilgrims gather to take part in the "Sprangsprecessioun". This unique procession, symbolizing faith, hope and unity, features dancing in the streets of the city.

The success of this Catholic pilgrimage grows every year. Every year, over 10,000 spectators attend this very special event.

It's a memorable experience for pilgrims and visitors alike. The next dancing procession will take place on Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

Traditional pilgrimage in honor of Saint Willibrord

The day after Whit Monday in Luxembourg, thousands of pilgrims and spectators flock to Echternach, in the north-east of Luxembourg. They come to take part in the religious procession in honor of Saint Willibrord.

During this very special procession, the pilgrims hop around for almost 3 hours to the rhythm of the music. 

The faithful stand in rows of 5 or 6 with white handkerchiefs on either side. Skipping from left to right, they gradually make their way towards Saint Willibrord's tomb. The route is over 2 kilometers long. The Christians, unable to hop for hours on end, follow the procession, singing or praying.

St Willibrord (657-739) is the founder of Echternach Abbey. He is also the patron saint of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. He is buried in the crypt of the Basilica.

This unique procession has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 2010.

Origins of the Echternach dancing procession

The true origins of "Sprangspressessioun" are unclear. 

Legend has it that the minstrel of Echternach, condemned to death, begged to be allowed to play the violin. Granted this favor, he led the onlookers in a wild dance. Unable to stop, they asked Saint Willibrord for help in halting their uncontrolled movements.

In fact, the Echternach dancing procession is said to cure people suffering from Saint Guy's disease. This childhood nervous disorder is characterized by clumsy, uncontrolled movements.

Luxembourg Cultural Heritage and Traditions Day

Since 2019, Whit Tuesday has been designated as "Luxembourg Cultural Heritage and Traditions Day".

Echternach schoolchildren are released on the day of the procession to attend if they wish. Some 2,000 pupils take part every year. In addition, all Luxembourg schools study Luxembourg's cultural heritage, including the Echternach dancing procession.

Pilgrims seeking spiritual comfort and a link with the divine can take part in several pilgrimages in Luxembourg, including the Octave pilgrimage. They can also visit the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Wiltz on Ascension Day.

  • Start date :
  • 21/05/2024


Echternach, Luxembourg

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