Sunday, June 23, 2013

Torchlights, Music and Fun *

Photos: RTL
As already mentioned, Princess Alexandra was the only one of the Grand Ducal Couple's children not living in the Grand Duchy who made her way to Luxembourg for this year's national day celebrations. Pretty in pink, she accompanied her parents, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, and her oldest brother, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, and his wife, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, to the Place Guillaume II only a stone's throw from the palais grand-ducal to watch the traditional torchlight procession.

The parade took longer than expected and was over after about two hours at midnight. I did notice some yawning on the Hereditary Grand Duke's part towards the end. Let's hope he gets a good night's sleep and will be bright as a daisy for tomorrow's activities. Before the yawning started, he, however, seem to have a lot of fun watching the parade and trying to keep track, with a little help from mayor Xavier Bettel, of which group was just marching right in front of them - the whole order of the procession can be found here.

The fun seem to been expanded to Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa as well. Sadly, the cameras mainly focused on the four aforementioned people when showing the VIP stand but I'm assuming that the Hereditary Grand Duchess and Princess Alexandra didn't have the worst time either.

Not sure whether it's just been the case because the traditional parade was expanded with additional parts to celebrate the 1050th birthday of the city of Luxembourg but, at times, it seemed to me that the city's whole population was either part of the parade or watched from the sides. It felt like they were hundreds of groups ranging from A to Z  - you can basically insert anything that comes to your mind here as there were so many; there were scouts, music groups, sports clubs, people in traditional costumes, folklore groups, religious groups, the military, and, and, and. All of them with torchlights (the grown-ups) or lanterns (the children) firmly in hand.

To celebrate the city's anniversary, the parade also included four parts to represent Luxembourg through the times. First the middle ages, then the fortress city and via the 19th and 20th century to  Europe and the rose city.

I really appreciated the cheeriness of the members of the Grand Ducal Family who clapped and waved along the whole time. At one point, one of the music groups sang a Luxembourgish folksong to which the Grand Duke, the Grand Duchess and the Hereditary Grand Duke full-throatedly sang along. Every once in a while, members of the family were also presented with gifts by the different groups.

The evening ended with fireworks over the Pont d'Adolph. Tomorrow, there are going to be the official celebrations for the actual national day. The Te Deum starts at 10:30am CET, RTL's broadcast alread half an hour earlier. Have a look here for the schedule. That's it for tonight. Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite!

Pictures are available at Tageblatt, Wort in French, Wort in German and Wort in English.

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