Echternach Dancing Procession Returns Following COVID-19 Hiatus



Credit: Catholic Church, Luxembourg

Each individual yr on Whit (Pentecost) Tuesday, hundreds of people collect in the city of Echternach for the standard “Sprangprëssessioun” (dancing procession).

Echternach, one of the oldest cities in Luxembourg and well-known for its cultural and architectural heritage, was awarded the “European place of excellence” in 2008 by the European Commission and, in 2010, the regular dancing procession – the previous remaining Roman Catholic dancing procession in Europe – was included in the UNESCO’s Representative Checklist of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The procession normally takes spot in the streets of Echternach in honour of Saint Willibrord, a monk who established Benedictine abbey at Echternach in 698, primary to his tomb currently being positioned in the crypt of the papal basilica of the abbey.

Tuesday 7 June 2022 also marks a exclusive occasion as the dancing procession is again right after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 wellness constraints. Pilgrims and participants start off to get there early in the morning to attend a Mass along the route of the procession and a Mass in the crypt of the papal basilica, followed by the pontificial fair.

Talking with Chronicle.lu, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg stated: “It can be a real satisfaction to make a pilgrimage to Echternach this 12 months and to soar to the tomb of Saint Willibrord. The hopping procession is a portion of our culture in Luxembourg and significantly further than our borders, which reminds us that we can search forward, irrespective of all our problems.”

Attended per year by almost 10,000 pilgrims from all over Europe in current a long time, the contributors of the dancing procession dressed in white shirts and darkish trousers or skirts, are organized in rows of four or 5 persons although keeping the ends of white handkerchiefs, dance in tune with a polka melody, hopping two steps to the remaining and two actions to the proper and slowly going ahead.

The specific dancing custom dates back to the 16th century, when male pilgrims from Waxweiler commenced carrying out a “hopping dance” on the way to Echternach and, since the late 18th century, women of all ages also participated in the procession.

In 2022, the teams A-I will begin the procession in the main courtyard of the abbey whilst the dancing groups 1-37, accompanied with tunes groups, will move by means of the procession route, a distance of about 1.5 kilometres, to meet back in the abbey courtyard. A remaining Mass with the Praise and the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, held by representatives of St Willibrord parish from Eisden and “Willibrordus Vrienden” of Limburg, for the procession celebrations to arrive to an conclude.