National Day is a tradition that highlights the country’s history and the spirit of unity among its citizens.
History and traditions of June 23
The national holiday is a symbol of Luxembourg.
History of the Fête Nationale
National Day has been celebrated since the 18th century as the birthday of the sovereign, the Grand Duke. This is “Groussherzogsgebuertsdag” or “Nationalfeierdag” in Luxembourgish. The date has changed many times over the years, according to the reigning sovereigns.
The date of this national holiday was changed to January 23 in 1919 with the accession to the throne of Grand Duchess Charlotte, an emblematic figure in Luxembourg’s history. Grand Duchess Charlotte, an emblematic figure in Luxembourg’s history.
In 1947, Bastille Day was declared a nationalpublic holiday.
Since 1961, Bastille Day has been celebrated on June 23. With summer just around the corner, it’s time to enjoy the festivities in warmer weather.
The Grand Ducal family at the center of national festivities
The Grand Duke or Duchess, along with the entire royal family, play a central role in the national holiday festivities.
Traditionally, the festivities begin the day before, on June 22, with a changing of the guard in front of the Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg City around 4:00 pm. The Grand Duke and his wife went to a commune in Luxembourg outside the capital. They then take part in the traditional torchlight procession.
On June 23, the Philharmonie in Kirchberg is the scene of official ceremonies . Starting at 10 a.m., the Prime Minister makes a speech. H.R.H. the Grand Duke awards honorary distinctions in the Civil and Military Order of Adolphe de Nassau to certain citizens who have worked for the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
The festivities continue with a traditional 21-gun salute to the Grand Duke.
H.R.H. the Grand Duke and the Hereditary Grand Duke then review the troopsin a military parade. It ends on Constitution Square, with Gelle Fra looking on. The grand-ducal family watched the festivities from an official stand set up on Boulevard F. D. Roosevelt at the corner of Rue de la Congrégation.
A solemn Te Deum mass was then held at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg City. This religious ceremony takes place in the presence of members of the royal family, government representatives and distinguished guests. It symbolizes the close link between state and religion.
The national anthem “Ons Heemecht” (translated as “our homeland”) is sung. The words written by Luxembourg poet Michel Lentz in 1859 are a call for peace.
National Day festivities on June 23
All residents of the country, whatever their nationality,take part in the many National Day festivities.
Torchlight procession, fireworks and street entertainment the evening before
From the evening of June 22, the festivities begin in Luxembourg and the country’s communes. Concerts of all kinds and DJ sets take place in the streets of the capital. This year, the Place du Glacis will vibrate from 5pm on June 22 and 23 to the sound of national and international musical groups.
In the evening, a “Fakelzuch” torchlight procession takes place in the streets of Luxembourg City. This stretches from the Puis Rouge in the city center to Avenue de la Gare.
A magnificent “Freedefeier” fireworks display lasting almost 20 minutes is then fired from the Adolphe Bridge at 11 pm. Every year, the event attracts some 100,000 people from all over the Greater Region. To get a front row seat, settle down in the station area (Place de Metz), Hollerich, Place de la Constitution or on the Viaduct (Al Breck).
A host of events and small street vendors add to the capital’s festive and friendly atmosphere. The streets of the capital are usually bustling withstreet bands and live concerts. During the evening of June 22, the city of Luxembourg is placed under the sign of joy, fun and music.
Festive entertainment on June 23
All the municipalities of the country also participate actively in this festival.
The Army is also celebrating in Place des Martyrs. The public can admire the military vehicles and enjoy a friendly drink.
Once again this year, youngsters can enjoy the Spillfest or Games Festival on the Kinnekswiss in the Ville-Haute district from 10am to 6pm. Participation is free. Catering is available on site.
Residents of all nationalities are cordially invited to join in the festivities. Ask your local council for details of the program.
Schéi Nationalfeierdag !