Sprangpressessioun – Dancing procession of Echternach
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since November 2010, the Echternach Dancing Procession is a Catholic pilgrimage that takes place on Whit Tuesday. This year it takes place on May, 22nd, 2018.
This day after Pentecost Monday, which is a bank holiday in Luxembourg, thousands of Catholic pilgrims and spectators flock to Echternach, a city located north of Luxembourg City to witness this very special procession, as it is done by dancing or rather hopping for the purists.
Accompanied by musicians playing violin or flute, the pilgrims hop for nearly 3 hours in the religious district around the Basilica of Echternach. Holding each others withy white handkerchiefs and dressed in white and black, the pilgrims celebrate St Willibrord (657-739), founder of the Abbey of Echternach and Saint- Patron of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, who rests in the crypt of the Basilica.
In rows of 5 or 6 people, the faithful jump left and right, while advancing towards the tomb of Saint Willibrord, on a rhythmic music tune. This music becomes popular since the inscription of this unique procession to the intangible cultural heritage of the Humanity in 2010. Christians who can not provide the effort required to hike for hours, can follow the procession by singing or praying.
Originally, the procession was to heal people suffering from the disease of the dance of Saint Guy. This disease usually affects children between 5 and 15 years of age and is characterized by clumsy and uncontrolled movements.
The number of people present at this pilgrimage today reaches more than ten thousands, attracted by this fabulous show, unique in its kind.
From 2019, the Whit Tuesday will be a “Day of Cultural Heritage and Luxembourgish Traditions”. As a result, primary and secondary school teachers in Luxembourg will be able to attend the procession with their pupils, if they so wish.