|(By the way, for those of you who might be concerned, this has absolutely nothing to do with the KKK, and as far as I can tell, it isn’t even associated with the Scottish tradition that they were borrowing when they started to burn crosses.)|
Every year in Luxembourg, on the evening of the first sunday after Ash Monday, is the Buergbrennen. It’s a ritual that has been happening here for a very long time. While it had begun to die out between the beginning of the last century and the 1930’s, it was revived by the townships, who took over the costs associated with it, which had previously been borne by individuals.
Most of the towns around Luxembourg build a giant bonfire out of all the old christmas trees from the holidays, which, by late February, are throughly dried out, so burn quire spectacularly. Traditionally the bonfire is in the shape of a cross, which is lit by the most recently wed couple in town, or one that is soon to be married. Here in Luxembourg City, it is lit by a whole bunch of kids from the local scouts and guides.
In Luxembourg, Burning Crosses don’t have sinister connotations, the Buergbrennen is a joyful time for welcoming in the new spring, by burning winter in effigy. It symbolizes rebirth and change.
For those of you who want to see what written Luxembourgish looks like, here’s lb.wikipedia on the Beurgbrennen.
Happy Spring, everyone!